Redeveloping The City Essay

1937 words - 8 pages

What is a city? Is it a concentration of people with similar cultural, religious, and sociological ideas, or is it simply a concentration of people with a similar economic purpose? Since early civilization the idea of the city has been of great purpose for the inhabitants of an area. From the early Greek-city polis of Sparta and Athens to the power of Rome, cities have undergone many changes throughout the course of time. In the new world economy and society, the idea of the city is taking on new forms. As a former resident of Brussels, I personally have seen a change from the time of my parents to the present day. For example, Brussels has seen a massive influx of immigration from North Africa and Eastern Europe, whereas during my parents' early years immigration was largely stagnant. Another example would be the Dutch cities Rotterdam and Amsterdam. These two cities have become heavily populated with Muslim immigrants to a point that the North African Muslims will one day be the majority in these cities. This "redevelopment of the city" because of immigration and other factors is central to the growth of the common city.

In the United States, numerous cities have undergone major changes over the past several years. Some cities, such as Los Angeles, Miami, and New York have seen once dormant residential and commercial centers again became vibrant centers for economic activity. For example in Los Angeles, motivated immigrants viewed, what the mainstream intelligentia would have considered an undesirable area for residential or economic purposes, an area they could prosper. The "toytown" district east of downtown Los Angeles was once such a stagnant and undesirable area. However, due to the diligent and creative work of some Asian immigrants, the area is now a vibrant arena for trade, shops, and markets focusing on toys. The impact of these shrewd immigrants has also allowed other nearby areas to flourish economically and socially. While the mainstream probably thought little of this activity of the time, it was these immigrants who revitalized a once dormant area of Los Angeles. The anti-thesis of this idea is that most large cities bureaucratic governments are all trying to revitalize their downtown areas. The question of why some cities prosper and some don't, is not easily answered. In the article "The Rise of the Creative Class", Pittsburgh has revitalized its downtown area to be more attractive to prospective businesses and residencies. However, the city is struggling to make the transition into a growing metropolis. The lack of certain jobs for creative people makes the area not near as attractive, as say a flourishing arena such as Seattle. Perhaps the old guard's ideas of the union based industries in Pittsburgh have made the city's residents less creative and open minded than others. In his opinion, the more creative, open minded, risk-orientated, and innovative people are those who contribute to the modern...

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