Reasons Why Safe and Accessible Public Spaces Are Important Essay

The ways in which cities are designed impacts the experience of the residents who live there. In particular, the availability of safe and easily accessible public spaces can have enormous benefits in urban areas, serving as centers of social interaction, economic activity, and often provide one of the few green space’s residents have access to.

Well-designed public spaces have been found to make cities more people oriented, as well as foster closer community ties. In addition, research shows that parks and green space are associated with healthier neighborhoods for residents. However, not all communities benefit equally from public spaces. Particularly in low income and/or minority communities, due to concentrated poverty, segregation, intentional urban design policies, and other geographic inequalities, there are oftentimes no safe public spaces available for residential use. What’s more, when public spaces are revitalized in poor and minority communities this often leads to gentrification, which in turn can cause the displacement of longtime residents due to the increasing property values.

In this assignment, you will investigate the benefits of public space in urban areas, how the regulation of public spaces impacts different communities, and the consequences of urban renewal projects (i.e., gentrification) on racial and class-based inequalities.

In your paper, include the following sections/components:

The Benefits of Public Space 

Describe the reasons why safe and accessible public spaces are important.

Discuss the social, cultural, and economic benefits that occur when urban residents have access to public spaces.

Regulating Public Spaces

Discuss how public spaces are regulated.

Explain how the regulation of public spaces can lead to racial and class inequalities in urban areas. In particular, address why some scholars argue that public spaces are regulated in line with the preferences of middle- and upper-class citizens and at the exclusion of the urban poor.

Gentrification, Race, and Class 

Define gentrification and explain why it has negative impacts on low income and minority communities.

Justify, using your informed opinion, whether urban renewal projects such as creating parks and other public spaces lead to gentrification and whether you think it is a positive or negative development (or a little of both).

Social Action Policy 

Propose a policy solution that would address the social problem of low income and minority communities not having access to public spaces in the same way that middle- and upper-class urban neighborhoods do.

Defend the impact of this policy proposal on low income and minority urban communities. Is it likely to lead to gentrification? Why or why not?