Urban areas all over the United States have seen substantial challenges over the years, each with their own stories and situations. From a broad view, the assigned documentary provided a great outline for the general issues for the modern day city over the last 80 years. The largest theme being the importance of places for people which has become far from the reality of many cities today. One of the largest challenges facing cities today is an urban landscape that attempts to merge the realities of suburban life with that of urban life. For example, the increasing presence of parking garages, large intersections, and car-friendly streetscapes. When cities are made for the people that commute into them daily, they take from the livability of their residents. Without “vibrant public spaces”, robust commercial corridors, and improved and sustainable transportation and mobility options, it makes it even more financially difficult for those who actually reside in the city. The ability to spend money in your neighborhood, without driving outside of the city to purchase goods and services, promotes local business and community wealth.
On the same note, the disinvestment of these residents is the cause for much of the more refined issues of urban areas, for example, crime, homelessness, low performing schools or blight. When low income residents are left without economic or career opportunities in cities they are unable to participate in their communities or economy. By improving educational opportunities, diversifying job opportunities, and creating policies that uplift the opportunities for these residents (affordable housing, etc.), the rest will fall into place.
All of these issues and solutions can start with perceptions of city living. I am someone that feels that the community aspect of urban living is appealing and that there is currently a shift in the “communitarian” mindset among the younger generations. That being said, I feel that in order to encourage policies that solve the issues I mentioned above, we have to shift the way our country thinks about cities and the people that live in them.