US Urban Planning Policies and Socio-Spatial Issues

Urban Sprawl in the U.S. and Urban Planning

The issue of peri urbanization has become especially topical for the cities of the XXI century. Due to the rapid growth of major cities, the options that large cities provide in terms of employment, and the possibilities for personal and professional growth, which cities provide, urban areas often suffer from overpopulation caused by the influx of country residents. The urbanization process defines city planning in most cases. Because of the necessity for the people of different origins and ethnicities to retain their national identity, the need for urban planning to be based on zoning appears, which conflicts with the current tendency for rapid urbanization and the principles of cluster development. While the problem specified above is not unique, and a range of large cities, including Istanbul, Montreal, and Moscow face it at present, the introduction of better traffic management, which is viewed as a possible solution, is only applicable for the U.S. large cities.

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Instructional and Legal Policy: Key Principles of the U.S. Urban Planning

Urban planning and legal concerns

It should be noted that the existing rules and regulations, as well as state legislation, approve of the process of urban sprawl and are supposed to encourage the further urbanization of the state. The current legal principles can be viewed as a result of the tradition set at the very beginning of the urbanization process: “Specific efforts at regional planning have a long history in the US, dating back to the regional plan associations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles of the 1920s” (Schmidt & Buehler, 2007, p. 60). Nevertheless, there are several minor ditches in the current legislation, which allow for shaping the New York policies and bringing the rates of urbanization and the following deterioration of relationships between the representatives of different diasporas down. Legal issues can also be considered a minor obstacle in solving the problem in the aforementioned cities of Europe and Asia (Hall & Falk 2014).

Reinventing the principles of urban planning

As it has been specified above and learned based on the existing evidence, New York authorities are going to address the problem of the urban sprawl and the possible conflicts between the representatives of different ethnicities by zoning the state and improving the city traffic system. The given case is a graphic example of how urban architecture and planning solutions can be used as the basis for developing approaches towards societal issues within the state (Masser & Williams 1986).

The solutions chosen by each of the countries specified above to solve the issue of city overpopulation are rather curious to take a closer look at. The choice that Moscow has made to address the problem of urbanization related overpopulation does not seem to solve the resulting cultural issues, though. According to the recent data, the state authorities have suggested the expansion of the city borders south and southwest (Kim 2011, para. 2).

Efficacy of the Adopted Approaches: Enhancing Urbanization

While the efficiency of the approach suggested can only be verified with its application and the following reassessment of the urban sprawl rates, even at present, one may suggest that improved traffic management will allow for better cooperation between different regions of the city. Thus, the necessity for people to target living in New York City and not in its suburban areas will disappear gradually. More importantly, zoning the city into several major diasporas linked to each other and to the city center with the help of an efficient transportation system will contribute to reducing the rates of assimilation, thus, making the retention of the original culture of immigrants possible. Hence, better planning of the city combined with the reconsideration of its traffic will help solve one of the basic sociocultural issues that the state authorities have been trying to approach for decades (Healey & Upton 2010).

It should be noted, however, that for other countries that have the same issues with urbanization and cultural diversity, the chosen solution is hardly applicable, mostly because they have not been slit into diasporas like New York is. For instance, in Moscow, the concern for retaining cultural diversity is quite high as well (Nadin 2012); however, the proposed solution is not going to work, since the city has not been divided into diasporas. The idea of creating specific regions, in which the people of other ethnicities could work for restoring their culture, should be suggested first. Likewise, Montreal’s diversity and urbanization issues are not going to benefit from traffic improvement. Instead, Montreal authorities should get concerned with keeping families within the city limits instead of letting them create the “sprawl” problem in the suburban areas (CBC News 2013, para. 1). Istanbul, in its turn, has also been affected by an increase in the amount of its population. However, the search for the adequate measures to be taken should start with the choice of a tool for calculating the scale of the problem, since the latter has not been defined yet (Braun 2011, para. 1). The TerraSar-X Mission (Braun 2011, para. 4) can be considered a perfect tool for population assessment: “TerraSAR-X is helping to identify urban sprawl from space” (Braun 2011, para. 4).

Lessons Learned and Practices Tested: When Different Approaches Collide

The outcomes of comparing different approaches of urban planning adopted in various countries and defining the possible solutions for dealing with these issues are quite predictable. Apart from the obvious differences in urban planning approaches, the cities in question also displayed completely different social concerns. Hence, the methods that appeared suitable for New York would only exacerbate the issues that Istanbul, Moscow, and Montreal are facing at present. The solutions, which were adopted to address the situations in the above-mentioned cities, on the other hand, were rather curious to consider.

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Policy Transfer Assessment: What Works Well in One Part of the World

One must admit, though, that what works for the United States may seem not quite appropriate for the rest of the world, particularly, Europe. More to the point, some of the strategies that can be easily adopted in the urban U.S. setting may appear absolutely useless in other parts of the same state, for example, in the realm of the U.S. suburbia. Hence the key to understanding policy transfer as a tool stems from. Putting a stronger emphasis on the urbanization process seems a legitimate step in the urban planning process; in a different setting, however, it may be pointless or even harmful.

Therefore, policy transfer can only work for urbanization as a key tendency in urban planning only for the regions, which have enough funds to focus on the city urbanization, as well as those that are not geared towards agricultural economy or green policy in city planning. What may seem the most obvious choice for a particular region may result in a series of disastrous outcomes for another one. Hence, the transfer policy must be used with due care.

Reference List

Braun, M 2011, ‘TerraSAR-X image of the month: Urban sprawl around Istanbul,’ DLR 2011, Web.

CBC News 2013, ‘Urban or suburban? The sprawl debate,’ CBC News, Web.

Hall, P & Falk, N, 2014, Good cities, better lives – how Europe discovered the lost art of urbanism, Routledge, New York, NY,.

Healey, P & Upton, R 2010, Crossing borders: international exchange and planning practices, Routledge. New York, NY,.

Kim, C 2011, ‘Moscow’s solution for overcrowding? Expand the capital, Time, Web.

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Masser, I & Williams, R 1986, Learning from other countries, Geo Books, New York, NY.

Nadin, V 2012, ‘Special issue: thematic issue: international comparative planning methodology,’ Planning Practice and Research, vol. 27, no. 1, 2012.

Schmidt, S. & Buehler, R. (2007). The planning process in the US and Germany: A comparative analysis. International Planning Studies, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 55–75.

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