Many Factors are Relevant to the Successful Management of Urban Areas

Firstly I am going to define what the successful management of urban areas actually is.

In my view, it means to improve and enhance the urban area and its surroundings for example to combat levels of crime and unemployment in various urban areas.

It is important to have the right mix of housing in urban areas to suit the population. In the LEDW there tends to be larger families due to less family planning and the ability for the children to work with their parents on the field. These larger families need larger homes to satisfy their needs. The price of the housing has to suit the family’s income hence the wealthier live in huge mansions whereas the lower income households live in flats and terraced housing (Harehills and Chapeltown in Leeds). This causes a problem because the families in such areas tend to be ethnic minorities on a lower income and with larger families. This brings in the problem of higher crime rates, less chance of a decent job in the surrounding area leading to unemployment and so on. Flats provide homes for the lower income families thus reducing homelessness in urban areas.

Housing can be built on either Greenfield (never been used before) sites or Brownfield sites which have either derelict buildings or have already been in use. However builders are reluctant to use the Brownfield sites which are becoming more and more available each year and instead go for Greenfield sites which are more ‘attractive’ and fairly controversial. If more builders built flats and other types of housing on Brownfield sites this would result in more homes for people in the MEDW.

In the UK the birth rate is falling even thought the demand for housing due to more and more single person households. This is a social trend, that there are an increasing number of divorces in the UK which was unthinkable 50 years ago. The greatest demand for housing is in the South-East where the highly paid jobs in and around the capital have attracted large-scale migration tot the region. This causes conflict on the rural-urban fringe because there simply aren’t enough homes for the amount of people. Because of this conflict, the competition increases resulting in house prices increasing and only becoming available to the wealthy in a country where by 2025 a third of the population will be economically inactive.

Inner city development has provided affordable housing for the lower income households e.g. the Hulme area of Manchester.

The majority of poor people in the MEDW suffer from low quality housing with inadequate heating and so on. In urban areas in the LEDW, a lack of finance and high rates of in-migration result in inadequate housing. This leads to squatter settlements and shanty towns like Rochinha near Rio de Janeiro consisting of over a million people without electricity and so on.

Most urban areas were developed before cars were invented and weren’t designed for cars at all therefore traffic also needs to be carefully managed.

In the 1950s cars were a luxury item however at present 70% of households in the UK own at least one car. This increase is due to the fact that disposable incomes have increased and improved car production methods mean cars are more affordable than ever before.

Growth in retail and service industries as well as more out of town retail parks have caused traffic in both inner cities and suburbs to increase. This growth was due to the fact that since more people had cars if businesses built in the suburbs where it was cheaper, they wouldn’t lose their customers.

In the MEDW cities are continuing to grow, presenting a huge burden on public transport. New mass transmit systems e.g. Metro underground in Newcastle have been developed as a result. The major problem is that these transport vehicles cause pollution. Car exhausts release sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide therefore governments in the MEDW need to find transport strategies. London’s congestion charge has recently increased from �5 per journey into Central London and reduced traffic in central London by 20% whilst the number of buses increased so that more people could still travel.

The rate of increase of car ownership in the LEDW is overtaking the rate in the MEDW. Also rapid unplanned growth hasn’t included traffic requirements because traffic is of a lower priority to most LEDC governments than housing and education.

In 1995 45% if new cars in Thailand were registered in Bangkok. There are over 1000 new cars on the streets every day. Over 50 % of air pollution comes from road traffic leading to respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis In Delhi over 70% of the city’s air pollution comes from motor vehicles and over 50% of the children have asthma.

As well as traffic clean water supply is a big issue in the LEDW. The only access to clean water in LEDCs is via standpipes which are shared between large numbers of people and water-borne diseases such as typhoid are very common.

Throughout the world all urban areas generate rubbish and as the world’s population is increasing, there’s more rubbish. Modern materials aren’t very biodegradable so they become more difficult to get rid of. The landfill sites which were the original method of treating rubbish are filling up. To combat this governments are making targets for the amount of waste to be recycled.

In the MEDW, Los Angeles has had problems with smog since 1950s because today only 5% of the 9 million inhabitants use the public transport. Central park in New York is a designated are for an ‘oasis of peace’ in the midst of the buildings.

Crime is a major problem in urban areas. The figures for crime are unreliable because a lot of crime goes unreported. To respond to crime a simple response is to put more police on the streets which acts as a deterrent to those committing a crime however this is very expensive. Also a strategy of zero tolerance policy sends a message that crime isn’t tolerated. However in the UK and New York for example there is a suffering of race relations where police have stopped and searched people based on their race.

In a lot of cities there is segregation between two different groups. Different religious groups often live in segregated areas due to them sharing a common language or religion. However this might lead to discrimination in the housing market and high unemployment leading to poverty. This results in area ‘no go’ areas also known as ghettos which have high crime rates, poor quality housing and low incomes. Inhabitants of these ghettos feel unjustly treated which can cause social friction for example the Brixton Riots. To avoid such segregation governments came up with various projects which would develop a sense of community spirit and get different ethnic groups mixing together.

Overall I feel that there are numerous factors in changing the urban area and its surroundings for the better. It seems to me that whenever an idea is thought of and planned there is a negative effect to that which requires another idea to combat it.

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