New York City’s Sociology and Infrastructure

Words: 3390
Topic: Sociology


New York City has the highest population in the world for it has enormous amount of resources that facilitate social growth and development. The city has diverse races, which mainly comprise Europeans, Africans, and Asians. The major challenges in the city are congestion, housing, crime, and racism. Both the informal and informal units play a very important role in the development of the city and achievement of its goals. Hence, this essay describes New York City, examines its needs, identifies its resources, and highlights sociological interventions aimed at addressing diverse problems.

Identification of Targeted City

The targeted city is New York City, which is one the cities that host the highest number of population in the United States and across the world. Some of the main areas that drive economy of the city and contribute considerably to the economy of the United States include commerce, research, fashion, entertainment, and art. As a result, the city is a hub of diplomacy and world’s financial and cultural center. According to Dunford and Holland (2002), New York is a city that contributes significantly to the economic development of the United States. The diversity of the city is evident from the different individuals, who speak various languages and undertake different activities.

The type of population in New York City includes Asians, Africans, and Europeans, who are the majority of the inhabitants of the city (Elish & Fitzgerald, 2011). The inhabitants live in communities that demonstrate some characteristics of their home cultures. Chinatown is an example of town that elaborates the nature of culture that the Asian communities demonstrate in New York City. Another characteristic of the city is their uniqueness as several inhabitants are born by people from different races or regions. The implication of the cosmopolitan nature of the city is that no region, country, or race can claim to be its dominant inhabitants.

The geographic boundaries of the New York City extend within the northeastern part of the United States. On the southeastern borders of New York lie the states of Washington DC and Boston. New York City covers about 1300 Km2 that comprise land and water (Lukacs, 2001). About 800 km2 of the city is a land or terrestrial surface, while over 400km2 of the city is aquatic surface. Todt Hill on Staten Island is the highest point in New York and has an altitude of 124.9 meters above the sea level.

The issues that exist in New York City are mainly socio-cultural and environmental issues. Since the city is a metropolitan area, there are a number of factors, which lead to social and environmental issues and problems. According to Ruff and Cronin (2012), some of the social problems that exist in New York City include crime, poverty, and unemployment.

The city is one of the cities in the world that has the highest level of income inequalities and unemployment. Highest level of income inequalities explains the pronounced difference between the rich and the poor in New York City. Previously the crime rate in the city was minimal, but due to the increased cost of living, the high-income disparities, and unemployment compel the youth to engage in crimes. Pollution and degradation are some of the environmental issues or problems that affect the city.

Some of the major resources that exist in the city include commerce, tourism, art, and sports. Together with Tokyo and London, New York City is among the leading economic centers in the world. Wall Street is among the major income generating activities in the city of New York (Ruff & Cronin, 2012). Buildings, museums, parks, and cultural centers are some of the resources that contribute to the economic development of the city. Development of museums, parks, stadiums, and tourism, attractions such as parks are some of the activities that the state undertakes in an attempt to increase the amount of revenues that accrue from the resources.

New York City has traditions, attitudes, values, and stereotypes. As a result, the city is one of the cities of the world that has the highest number of different languages and cultural diversities. Elish and Fitzgerald (2011) explain that due to the diversity and different societies that live in the city, the values and lifestyles, as well as the attitudes are liberal and free from various cultural and religious attachments.

Conversely, some of the communities try to retain their cultural values and norms sourced from their homelands. Retention of values and cultural norms usually concerns those inhabitants, who are elderly and immigrants. Chinatown is an example of areas that the elderly try to retain cultural values and values.

The history of the city dates back to the pre-colonial era when the Native Americans were its major inhabitants. Early explorers and sailors like Giovanni da Verrazano were among the first individuals to document the history of the city. After several events that involved exchange and the renaming of the city, the region then experienced numerous cases of yellow fever that claimed a number of lives. Approximately 10 percent of the individuals living in the present New York City lost their lives after contracting the fever that took place in the 18 century (Lukacs, 2001). Regardless of the challenge associated with yellow fever, the city still developed as a center for slave trade a point of trade. Slave trade and trade flourished mainly during the reign of the British government.

The political framework of the city places the mayor as the highest authority in the management and control of the city. In the framework, the mayor works together with the presidents of departments like the boroughs, public advocates, and the comptrollers. The framework also involves the council, and the district attorneys’ concerned with ratification of laws that the city enforces.

Delegation of duties happens among leaders of the city council. The economic framework of the city lies in the business, arts, tourism, and real estate. Ruff and Cronin (2012) explain that the Wall Street, which is a hub of economic development and stock exchange, generates large amounts of money to the city and the central government. Developed infrastructure serves to increase the capacity of the city to advance its economic framework and structure.

Problem Identification and Needs Assessment

The most pressing problems that affect the city include congestion, housing, crime, and pollution. Due to unemployment and low incomes, several young people in the city engage in criminal activities such as robbery, murder, and other injustices like child prostitution. Elish and Fitzgerald (2011) elaborate that New York City is one of the leading cities in the world concerning matters of insecurity.

The increasing development of the city has initiated a problem, which is mainly environmental, such as pollution and degradation of environment. Processing plants and other human activities release unwanted substances that are harmful to the soil, air, environment, and water. Imperatively, social problems like crime and environmental challenges like pollution are issues that the management of the city cannot underscore in the quest to progress and develop the city.

Minority groups such as Asian Americans and African Americans still experience a number of severe problems. The problems concern issues like racism, unemployment, poverty, and inadequate education. Since few individuals in the city practice racism, several African Americans and Asian Americans suffer greatly in their attempt to get employment and job opportunities.

The few individuals, who practice racism, are reluctant or unwilling to hire the people from the minority groups regardless of their expertise and competence in their given professions. The issue of racism dates back to the colonial era and has persisted in several parts of the United States (Ruff & Cronin, 2012). As a result, minority groups, which comprise Asian Americans and African Americans, experience severe problems as opposed to other communities like the Europeans, who have easy access to education, employment, and resources.

The targeted needs of New York City can best be conceptualized and determined through employment of some policies. The policies include equity and fairness in resource allocation, infrastructural development, and empowerment of the inhabitants. Elish and Fitzgerald (2011) assert that equity and fairness in resource allocation is a policy that ensures development of marginalized areas. Therefore, the marginalized areas, which accommodate several individuals from the minority groups, access resources and improve their living standards. Infrastructural development implies that the state develops roads, electricity, and schools among other infrastructures in all parts of the city. Empowerment of the inhabitants is one of the major policies that reduce the issues such as racial and gender disparities. A combination of all the policies helps the city meet its objectives, which incorporate aspects like economic growth and development.

Creation of the problems in the city occurs in the local context as it involves migration of individuals from rural areas to the city and the activities that result in the aftermath. Dunford and Holland (2002) explain that several individuals travel to cities such as New York with the hope of enjoying better facilities and resources different from their homelands.

Mass migration of individuals to the city results in congestion, poor housing, and crime. In addition, congestion leads to environmental issues such as pollution and housing problems. Congestion, poor housing, poverty, crime, racism, and environmental pollution are problems that the city can solve within the local context. Since most of the problems facing New York City occasion from the events that take place within the local arena, it is apparent that the creation of the problems takes place locally.

The city and its inhabitants have the ultimate power to determine its destiny. The city can formulate policies and regulations that help manage and solve the problems that it experiences. The improvement of housing and accommodation helps the city handle its population and advance living conditions (Ruff & Cronin, 2012).

Furthermore, creation of employment opportunities improves the chances of recruitment, and thus, reduces the levels of poverty. By creating avenues that increase job opportunities, the city and its citizens tackle the problem of crime because several individuals get revenues that facilitate easy access to their daily requirements. Therefore, it is significant to understand that the city and its citizens have the power to control and dictate the destiny of New York City.

The problems that New York City experience have interrelationships with other cities and suburbs of the United States. Problems such as congestion, poor housing, poverty, crime, racism, and environmental pollution are problems that several cities in the country encounter as they develop economically and socially. According to Dunford and Holland (2002), several major cities in the United States like Washington DC, Los Angeles, and New York suffer from challenges such as congestion, pollution, racism, and crime.

Inter-relationships between the problems that New York City experience and the problems in other cities transpire as the city’s development inspires mass migration of individuals from other cities and countries. Mass migration to New York City by people from other cities and countries, which are slightly lower in terms of development than New York City, leads to present problems that the city faces. Evidently, the problems that New York and other cities in the United States encounter as they develop are inter-related since they concern their developments.

Sociologists study human activities and solve behavioral problems, and thus, they have an important role to play in the process of controlling some problems in the city. Crime, racism, unemployment, and pollution are some of the problems that require sociological expertise.

Employment of social expertise in empowerment of the inhabitants, especially those, who practice racial discrimination leads to minimal disparities and increased levels of employment among the people from minority groups (Elish & Fitzgerald, 2011). As a result, crime rates reduce since the majority of the inhabitants acquires money that they use to meet their financial requirements. Significantly, sociologists facilitate public empowerment, which is instrumental in the management and reduction of social issues like racism, crime, and pollution.

Resource Identification

New York City has numerous resources that are useful in the management and control of its present problems. Some of the resources that the city has include numerous business opportunities, tourism attractions, infrastructure that meets international standards, and high amount of human resources. Development and improvement of resources available in the city increase the opportunities that the inhabitants access to advance their living standards.

According to Dunford and Holland (2002), New York City is among the most populated cities in the United States and the world. The fact that New York City is the most populated implies that the amount of available human resources is high, and thus, improvement and development of the resources in the city puts the available human resources into effective use. Infrastructural development has enhanced execution of businesses, expansion of tourism ventures, creation of employment opportunities, and improvement of living standards.

Several learning institutions, high population, variable weather, as well as business and tourism opportunities are some of the strengths that the city of New York has. The strengths are very practical in the management of the present problems that the city faces. In addition, the strengths facilitate progress and development of the city. Lukacs (2001) points out that availability of learning institutions implies that the inhabitants living in the city can access high quality education and use their expertise and acquired competencies to undertake rewarding business or secure job opportunities.

Furthermore, variable weather is a strength that facilitates engagement of business, tourism and other productive ventures. Several business and tourism opportunities increase the chances of the city inhabitants. Fundamentally, the city can use its strengths to address the present problems. The learning institutions are useful in increasing the amount of individuals, who acquire the required expertise, improve their chances of employment, and minimize unemployment in the city. The advancements in learning institutions, as well as business and tourism opportunities reduce unemployment and utilize the high amount of human resources in the city.

Some of the formal institutions that deliver services and goods to the city’s inhabitants are mandatory, while others are voluntary or optional. Formal institutions, which are voluntary or optional, include ski clubs and community membership groups that help individuals receive services such as dividends or shares (Elish & Fitzgerald, 2011).

Mandatory formal institutions do not require willingness of the individuals living in the city, but people join them since they need their services. Workplaces and schools are some of the formal institutions that are mandatory. The need to acquire education drives individuals to schools regardless of their willingness to join the institutions. On the other hand, financial requirements and access to better lifestyles compel individuals to join certain workplaces to receive financial remunerations and advance their living standards.

Some of the informal groups in New York City include the Running Club, New York Social Network, and Civilian Emergency Response Corps. The informal units help the inhabitants feel satisfied and boost their self-esteem. In addition, the units facilitate togetherness and teamwork among individuals in the city. The units also advance the significance that people accord to values and moral lifestyles, and thus, help them improve their interactions with others in the city. According to Dunford and Holland (2002), informal units comprise some of the tools that the city can employ to create productive relationships among people in the society. Therefore, informal units play an integral role in product delivery to people living in cities like New York.

The leaders of New York City are mainly from the formal units or settings. These leaders comprise the mayor, who heads the city with the assistance of other officials such as the executive and legislative officers. In addition, there are informal leaders, who control different informal units in the city. Although major management decisions that affect the city are agreements of leaders from the formal units, some of the leaders from informal units voice their suggestions, which are subject to implementations (Elish & Fitzgerald, 2011).

In the solution of the problems that exist in the city, leaders from formal and informal units need to work together so that they effectively meet individual problems and address them at the grassroots. Essentially, informal units reach the grassroots and have lower levels of bureaucracies and hierarchies as opposed to formal units. As a result, formal and informal groups need to work together so that they can easily meet individual problems and solve them effectively.

Sociological Interventions and Strategies

The major problems identified in New York City include unemployment, crime, pollution, racial discrimination, and congestion. These problems are severe as they affect the daily operations of the people living in the city. Moreover, the problems not only hinder growth and economic development of the city, but also increase the amount of poverty, and initiate other challenges in the city such as crime.

To address the present problems and challenges facing New York City, some of the strategies like infrastructure development, improved access to better education and the development of business and tourism openings in the city are necessary (Ruff & Cronin, 2012). Significantly, the strategies are among the major interventions that the city can utilize in its attempt to solve its severe problems.

Short-term solutions to the problems that the city faces include empowerment of individuals to engage in rewarding business ventures and earn a living out of the existing resources. Encouragement of public policing is another short-term solution that can help manage the problems associated with crime. Empowerment also reduces the issues linked to racial disparities and increases unity and teamwork.

Construction of modern houses can act as a short-term solution to the problem of housing that is persistent in the city. According to Dunford and Holland (2002), long-term solutions to the problems include the institution of infrastructure that meets the required standards and encouragement of private and public investments so that job opportunities increase. Improvement of infrastructure and encouragement of investment in the business and tourism sectors are some of the long the solutions to the problems in New York City.

Some of the interventions that the city stakeholders, which include formal and informal units, can employ to solve the problems are increased construction of industries and vertical expansion. The city also needs to increase the amount of police officers and intelligence personnel so that they can curb crime and insecurity (Ruff & Cronin, 2012).

Vertical expansion helps manage the problem of housing since it involves the construction of skyscrapers that house several individuals in minimal space. Construction of industries augments the amount of opportunities for business and employment, and thus, reduces unemployment, poverty, and crime in the city. The intervention plan identified employs policies from the informal and formal units of the city and incorporates the values and attitudes of individuals as it advocates for improvement of the state of their home city.

Since the proposed interventions are instrumental in solving the problems in the city, both the informal and formal units will fully support the interventions. Some of the strengths that the informal units enjoy include their ability to meet individuals at the grassroots and persuade them to support the policy (Lukacs, 2001). Formal units minimize the financial and technical weaknesses that informal units experience. The strength of the formal unit is their financial and technical abilities. The formal leadership will offer technical and financial assistance in the development and establishment of short and long-term solutions in the city.

The problems identified in New York City affect several developed and developing cities in the United States, as well as across the world. Congestion, crime, pollution, and unemployment are problems, which are prevalent in several cities of the world (Elish & Fitzgerald, 2011). The proposed strategy that champions for infrastructural development, vertical expansions, encouragement of private and public investment, and construction of several industries solves a number of problems. Some of the problems addressed by the proposed strategy are crime, unemployment, congestion, and accommodation.


The city of New York is among the most developed cities in the United States and globally. As a result, the city experiences issues of congestion, crime, racism, unemployment and other problems that developed and developing cities face in the world. The resources in the city, which include tourism, business opportunities, and developed infrastructure are very important in the solution of the problems that the city experiences. It is imperative to understand that informal and formal units have a role to play in the development of the city and solutions to its problems.


Dunford, M. & Holland, J. (2002). New York City. New York: Rough Guides.

Elish, D. & Fitzgerald, S. (2011). New York. New York: Marshall Cavendish.

Lukacs, G. (2001). Poughkeepsie Potters and the Plague. New Hampshire: Arcadia Publishing.

Ruff, J. & Cronin, M. (2012). New York City Police. New York: Arcadia Publishing.