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After LAPD officers Laurence Powell, Theodor Briseno, and Timoty Wind, supervised Sgt. Stacey Koon, were found “not guilty” of beating citizen King, the Los Angeles riots erupted. Why did the riots occur? The rebellion was an outcome of the fiscal and social troubles which conffroting America’s city and now. To understand riots, one must understand the causes of social rage, ussually said to be racism, poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and why people who experience this rage manage it in such a destructive manner.
America is a suburban country and urban America is still losing population. Today about three-quarters of all Americans live in metropolitan areas. Two-thirds of them – in other words, about half the nation’s population – live in suburbs. Furthermore, in every region of the country – even where city population are increasing – the fastest-growing parts of the metropolitan areas are the surrounding suburbs. During the 1980’s, for example, Los Angeles grew by 17.4%, while its suburbs grew by 29.5%. Baltimore lost 6.4% of its population while its suburbs grew by 16.5%. Between 1970 and 1990, Chicago was loosing 17% of its population as its suburbs gained 24%.
Furthermore, in fact the suburbs dominate politics. The number of Congressmembers who represent cities is declining, while the number who represent suburbs is increasing. For example, in 1992,when the riots in Los Angeles occured, the House had 98 urban districts, 170 suburban districts, and 88 rural districts; the rest were a mix of urban-suburban or rural-suburban populations. Of course, members of Congress who present “suburban” areas may be personally sympathetic to the plight of the central cities,but it does not mean they will vote to spend their constituents’ tax dollars to alleviate urban problems.
These aspects have led to the movement of businesses to the suburbs, and these forces are extremely difficult to counteract. Because people live, work, and pursue many of their leisure activities in the suburbs, its income much bigger than cities’. In 1960’s, the per capita income of cities was 5% greater than their surrounding suburbs; by the 90’s it had fallen to 84% of suburban income.
As a result, America’s cities now face a shrinking tax base and fiscal traumas; cities become increasingly populated by the poor. Poverty and racism are the most fundamental problems facing our cities. Most of America’s 38 million poor people live in our cities and they are increasingly concentrated in ghettos and barrios. In 1980, there were 2.4 million poor people living in ghetto – 8.9 persent of all U.S. poor peple. Their poverty stems from both high unemployment and low-wage work, but their concentration results from racial discrimination. Sixty-two percent of non-Hispanic blaks live in blocks that are 60% or more black. Forty percent of the Hispanic population live in blocks that are 60% or more Hispanic. At least two out of every three white Americans live in essentially all-white neighborhoods. The black and Hispanic poor are much more likely than the white poor to live in poverty neighborhoods. There are everything: high level unemployment, falling incomes, the huge deficit of skills, terrible housing situation, overcrowding, exorbitant rent, alarming failure of public health and health care delivery which altogether represents the urban crisis.
William Julius Wilson claims that “many of today’s problems in the inner-city ghetto neighborhoods – crime, family dissolution, welfare, low levels of social organization and so on are fundamentally a consequence of a disappearance of work” and indeed many people argue that only an employment oriented policy can reduce the social problems of these communities. Yet, stimulating true economic development in the inner city through tax incentives or direct capital subsidies has proven very difficult. As a result, policy makers have begun to develop ways to change the supply of labor by bringing the people in the inner city to the jobs in the suburbs, instead of bringing jobs to the people in the inner city. For example, in 1979, was created the Gautreaux program purpose of which was attemting to break up the poverty community. The program has given 6,000 inner city families (primarily single mothers) vouchers that allow them to relocate to low poverty neighborhoods throughout a six county area in and around Chicago.
In 1992 was made an experiment to compare the employment and educational outcomes of the city movers with the suburban movers. Was found that women who moved to the suburbs were 28% more likely to be employed than the women who moved inside the city, on average 5.5 years after moving. This was true even though the wage gains attributed to the move were the same for all women who worked, regardless of their location. In addition, he found that 9 years (on average) after the move, the children of the suburban movers were doing significantly better than the children of the city movers. Although criminal activity was not measured, the children of the suburban movers dropped out of high school only 25% as often as the city movers, were in college track courses 1.6 times as often as the city movers, were 2.5 times as likely to attend college, were more than 4 times as likely to earn $6.50 an hour if working, and only 38% as likely to be unemployed. These results suggest that for children in these environments, relocation can be an effective tool to change their focus towards positive outcomes like meaningful employment.
These large positive results led to new housing programs. In 1992, HUD provided $168 million to fund Moving to Opportunity as a demonstration program for the housing mobility concept. Moving to Opportunity has 5 sites in large cities – Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles – and is funded for at least 10 years.
Education, also, plays an important role in framing choices; low educational attainment, which puts people at risk of frequent periods of unemployment and of achieving only low paying and unsatisfactory jobs, will be associated with high crime participation. Numerous programs were developed to provide basic education, vocational training and work experience for youth and adults in high crime and high unemployment communities in order to provide legitimate employment or employment skills to at-risk individuals . The federal government spends large sums ($2.5 billion in 1994) on skills-developing programs as PERP, TARP, LIFE, JTPA, CADD, KPEP, PIRP, PREP, STEP, and so forth.
Even though Americans are suburban nation, we cannot prosper if our cities are decaying. We have to recognize that we are all in the same boat. Our future depends on how well, and how soon, we find sovation and reforms which will help our cities and the people who live in these cities. It is important becausee despite all the negative aspects, cities play at least three critical functions in our regional and national economies. First, they are the location of most metropolian area jobs, including the best-paing jobs, and the nucleus of key industries – what economics call the advantages of “agglomeration”. Second, these city-based firms and industries spin off jobs that are located in the suburbs, but depend on the central cityfor their sustenance. Third,cities remain the hub of the metropolitan region’s civic life, where the major cultural, educational, medical, governmental, and other institutions are located.
Dreir, Peter The struggle for our cities PN’96:National urban policy/ 3/4/00
Haddock,David, Polsby, Daniel Understanding riots
Mashane,Clay BIB-ESSAY:American cities and suburbs H-Urban mail/