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The Urban City and Then Suburbia
We know cultural differences and socioeconomics have a huge impact in society and the way we live our daily lives. It is also very important to take into account how much of an influence our built environments have upon our actions, our choices and our preferences. Many people who visit New York City tend to grow an interesting outlook upon its social character and network, some even consider the actual sense of time being incredibly fast paced and "crazy", as if time were irrelevant to society's daily norms, or in any other case different, simply because of how dense the city is within its population, modes of transportation and the diverse built settings all over the city. On the other hand, a person like myself who has lived in a sprawled city like Buffalo, finds it a little uncomfortable for how scattered the city actually is with a low population and the essential need of an automobile to get around. The differences in both living environments change our perspectives of our daily living and also have a significant impact on the influences of our actions and outcomes for our days. At a personal level it is important to reflect upon our daily habits and doings based on how we live and where we live.
For example, we can reflect upon living in NYC's infamous urban housing projects versus living in a suburban housing complex. In the past, studies have shown that small living spaces, which can be found in housing projects, tend to cause for attention and hyperactive disorders, leading to a very different style of living in a condensed city. Moreover, these residencies are mainly urban housing for low-income families, and so, many residents living in these buildings suffer from financial problems leading to greater stress levels in the neighborhoods. In effect, distressed environments tend to be the number one reason for the rise in poverty or crime rates, while on the other hand, in the suburbs crime rate and poverty levels are not as high due to opportunities of owning private property which ultimately is beneficial to a person's stress level, but as well as living conditions. There are also other issues that rise in suburbia that are to be discussed with more consideration.
Then there are the issues of professional degrees and high school graduate rates, which are also an important topic to consider in "urban" environments, and of which are not necessarily the same in a more suburban setting. Hitherto, an urban environment is not defined solely as a dense environment for the purposes of this conversation. In this topic the interest is in distressed urban environments. Hence, often times we find there is a greater possibility of graduation when a student comes from a financially well-off family. As a result, in distressed neighborhoods where graduation rates are low, the continuity of the lack of education will lead to a never ending cycle of distress. At a greater perspective, many issues that stem from the "urban city" or public-housing initiative are socio-economical and socio-dynamic issues which can inspire a new way of thinking in design for urban settings. This kind of inspiration leads to the following questions: can we identify the social and behavioral characteristics in both kinds of environments and how do they differ? What are there stimulants? And how can architecture and design implement and influence upon the social, mental and physical well being of residents in distressed neighborhoods? This is the goal and purpose to identify an architecture and urbanism that will influence, stimulate and work not only in the distressed environment, but also in the upcoming urban settings. Even more so interesting, to consider design for suburbia and all of its opposing issues.
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