CASE STUDY – URB 300

1. Provide and explain two micro and two macro level reasons from the case for the movement of people to the suburbs of Detroit:

 

Reasons for the movement of entire families and neighborhoods from the urban areas of Detroit Michigan actually begins in the early part of the twentieth century with the flow of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. This flood of European newcomers transformed the landscape of Detroit entirely. These new immigrants were attracted to the city of Detroit because of the burgeoning automobile industry. Detroit underwent its most rapid growth in the 1920’s due to the influx of immigrants from Poland, Germany, and Italy moving into their own ethnic neighborhoods where they began to build their churches, synagogues, and shops around their own customs and cultures.

The existing population of Detroit tended to resent what they considered the incursion of these newcomers and the jobs that they seemed to be taking away from the real Americans. Around this time the African American population began to move north to the city of Detroit also in search of better economic opportunities as were the European immigrants. The black immigrants found it more difficult to blend in with the existing population and also experienced heavy discrimination and prejudice being aimed against them by the existing citizens and also by the immigrant population whom they were competing against for the low paying jobs. In the 1960’s another migration began in Detroit, this time the exodus was from the city itself to the outer areas of the city better known as the suburbs. This white flight was mainly due because of several reasons. Because of discrimination and worsening economic conditions in the city, the black residents were mostly confined to ghettoization where crime became rampant. Because of these conditions it increased the level of distress within the city by increasing alcohol and drug abuse along with the increasing crime rate in the inner city. Many non-black residents left their homes in the city to live in the suburbs.

2. According to Wirth, Provide examples that fit the case study:

The significant factors that are mentioned by Wirth, which are applying to distinct settlements that are distributed within a city, and sought after by the population of that city are as follows: Individuals desire to live in areas of a city that posses prestige, high land values, sufficient rentals, absence of noise and other pollutants, are areas of high desirability for people of all races and ethnic groups.

American cities contain many people that seem to be younger, than the rural areas or the suburbs do. Young people tend to prefer to live in cities than older people do. The older populations prefer to live in the rural areas of a city. Woman also tend to prefer to live in cities, and according to the research of Wirth, woman predominate numerically over men. The population of a city is also indicated by racial and ethnic lines. Again according to Wirth the foreign born and their children constitute nearly two-thirds of all inhabitants of cities with a population of one million people or above. The larger American cities also have attracted a large percentage of African Americans and other racial groups. The factors of age, sex, race, and ethnic background seem to be the primary characteristics that according to the research conducted by Wirth are among the significant factors in accordance with which the urban population is selected and distributed into more or less distinct settlements or city neighborhoods (p.15).

Wirth also mentions that never before have such large and diverse masses of people with so many different cultural and personality traits been brought to live together in the entire history of the world, as has been done in the great cities of the United States.

3. Consider the Quote:

Question number three is asking us to consider the quote; the single focus metropolis disappeared and was replaced by an amorphous sprawl of population without a unifying hub or culture. Does this quote fit the case study? In my opinion the quote fits the case study. In the beginning of civilizations and cities there was a single goal that the population of the ancient city needed to achieve, if they did not achieve that goal then their city would die and in all actuality they would die also. In his research Teaford actually makes a lot of sense with his statement about there no longer being a unifying hub. In the time period which he mentions the United States was in the midst of world war two and was a country still inhabited and settled by European immigrants.

They all spoke different languages and had different cultures, but their unifying factor was that they all wanted to be good American citizens. They tended to make it a point to learn to read and write the English language and some even changed their names in order to sound more American.

I do tend to agree with Teaford’s comments that in modern time most Americans commute in private cars usually by themselves or with others along the same social economic strata and lifestyle which they are. Most American now tends to stay away from the inner hub of any large major American city because of several factors. The factors can include the perception of high crime rates and drug and alcohol abuse which is quite often associated with the urban world.

4. Briefly explain Van der Leeuw’s theory:

Sander van der Leeuw’s theory is that modern people as well as ancient people learn new techniques and new innovations in producing objects and new concepts. Ancient man learned to produce three dimensional objects and also how to illustrate them in two dimensional methods.

He also states that origins of cities or urbanization areas need to have better and more often be in contact with themselves to effectively organize new ideas and new information for better innovation. New inventions are usually brought into cities for implementation and this very often causes the emergence of new cities which usually form in clusters.

Reading, writing and counting emerged in the ancient cities in different manners as shown by the Mayas in the Americas and the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. When human beings form cities they also tend to implement laws and administration as well as monetary transactions because this is now needed to operate a city efficiently. As cities tend to grow into empires, he also states that more wealth is needed from other regions in order to sustain the growing city or empire. In large cities or empires such as the Roman Empire, efficient roads and city infrastructures are needed for communication to other parts of the empire and to effectively move about troops from one province to another.

The rise of Detroit as a thriving urban area is due in great part to its geographical area and also to the industries that were formed within its boundaries. Its proximity to the great lakes region made it very valuable to the shipping trade where commerce and the exchange of innovative ideas could be spread and implemented. The lakes could also be used to transport military personnel if needed, as was done during the American Revolutionary War. Another major factor for the rise of Detroit to a great American city is that the automobile industry chose to make its worldwide headquarters there back at the start of the twentieth century. This industry drew millions of people from all over the globe seeking employment in this new industry. The auto industry also started thousands of other industries that were now necessary in order to manufacture new products that the automobile would require, such as tires and anything else that can be thought of that a car needs. This reason is probably the best example of van der Leeuw’s theory of innovation.

Options to Bankruptcy

In today’s modern society a new occurrence is becoming more common in Americas cities. This occurrence is municipalities that are going bankrupt occasionally because of mismanagement, but more often it is due to a slacking economy in which we find ourselves today. For the last several years the American economy has suffered greatly in many important industries that at one time lead the way in the American gross national production.

Industries such as construction, the auto manufacturers, integrated circuits, food production, and thousands of other industries that dot the American industrial landscape have suffered financially and economically due to what our politicians call a recession. Many economists that have been monitoring the fiscal might of the United States have publically admitted that we are actually in a depression and not a recession. It is true, they say that it is not at the magnitude that the great depression was in the nineteen thirties, but it is still a depression never the less.

Because of these circumstances that currently exist in the United States they have placed a great fiscal and financial burden on the municipalities of the country. These American cities find themselves on the verge of default because of this unspoken depression that the U.S. is going through. They find that many businesses that had, had their manufacturing plants or retail stores in their cities for decades are now moving to other municipalities because of the financial illness that their host cities are suffering from. These financial maladies that are affecting America’s cities for the most part are not due to municipal mismanagement, but to the depressed economy that practically brought the American economy to a standstill. The slacking economy has not only affected the cities of the United States, but has also affected the cities of the entire world. Cities in other countries are also suffering from fiscal problems due to the American economy; we are now truly in a global economy where all the world’s economies are connected to one another.

If an American city finds themselves in this financial predicament they have several options that they can utilize prior to actually filing for chapter nine bankruptcy protection. Some of the options include contacting their debtor and trying to arrange some kind payment deferment plan. Another option that a municipality can do but is very unpopular with the citizens of any city is to raise taxes. This option should probably be done only if there is nothing else left to try, if taxes are raised and the services that the municipality is suppose to take care of actually become worse than you will have city residents leaving for greener pastures. This will actually make things even worse for the municipalities because now they have alienated their tax base, and will become even more in debt.

Municipalities do have some advantages over individuals if they were to file for bankruptcy protection. A city cannot have its possessions repossessed by their creditors. This in itself is a huge help to the municipality that is wishing to get back on their fiscal feet.

Municipalities can also sell off some of their assets in order to raise money to pay off their creditors. With some luck this can buy them some breathing space while they try to implement other strategies for fund raising. Before a city can apply for bankruptcy they must get approval from the state government and need to try all other options before bankruptcy is approved.

The labor markets in these cities will be greatly affected due to the lack of employment opportunities there. Sometimes the existing employers move to other cities that may be courting them with offers of tax breaks and incentives if they were to move their facilities to their city. These corporate offers can be very enticing to the corporations and many of them do take the offers. Sometimes these offers are made by foreign governments to these American businesses who very often move their facilities to other countries as companies such as Motorola, Intel, Ford ,General Motors, Chrysler, and hundreds of other American businesses have done.

This American business exodus only adds to the economic woes of the United States by transferring jobs that were once taken by Americans and moving them overseas to be performed by individuals in the hosting countries.

 

Reforming American Education

There are individuals who say that some sort of radical educational revolution is needed in order to bring about change in the American educational system. I am in agreement with them that change is needed, but I think that it can be done within the boundaries that currently exist within the system itself.

Many of these individuals also do not mention where the change is needed, is it in the elementary schools, middles schools, high schools, or the online homework help. Maybe the change is needed all the way from elementary to college. I think that change is required in everyone of these categories’.  Today’s education has become very expensive and in my opinion overpriced. I am not certain what the cost to educate an individual from elementary to college is these days, but I have heard that it is at an all time high. Still I believe that change can come about through the usual means utilizing the PTA groups and meetings, along with voting in good educational superintendents who also care about change.

Principles of Ethnography

I chose to go into a Starbucks Coffee Shop located not too far from my home.  I have gone there before with friends and have always enjoyed my Café Latte while we discussed everything and anything under the sun. Because I have been to this coffee shop in the past was the main reason why I decided to choose this particular Starbucks to do my observations.

The Starbucks is located in a small shopping center that only contains about four other businesses. The Starbucks is located on the corner of the building and has a small courtyard to the side of the business which holds ten small round tables surrounded by three wrought iron chairs at each table. As I walked up to the coffee shop there are at this outside courtyard two couple seated at the tables. They are approximately in their late twenties or early thirties and the female at one of the tables is on her cell phone, while the male is drinking his cup of coffee and looking at his watch. At the other table the female and the male are engrossed in conversation, they look as if they are still in their dating phase of their relationship because it seems to me as if they still want to make a good impression to one another. Actually it is a very nice day to sit outside in the courtyard since the sun is shining and the day is just beautiful.

I reach the door to the Starbucks and open it to find an employee cleaning the plate glass windows from the inside of the shop, she gives me a smile and says good morning, I reply with a good morning of my own and return the smile. I looked around for a place to sit and found a table in the middle of the room that contained three chairs. On the table were the usual menus that list the different choices of coffee offered and the different types of pastries that are sold there. I looked around the room to make some quick observations and to see if I know anyone there since I frequent this Starbucks quite often, and how many people were there inside of the coffee shop. The inside of the Starbucks had fifteen tables and each with three chairs at each table. The counter where the customers placed their orders was located to the right of the room, and there were three employees working the counter, the coffee making area, and the back room where I assumed was where they kept the supplies.

There was a man sitting at a table located at the back of the room that had his laptop computer with him. He seemed to be about in his late forties with thinning black hair and rather on the heavy side. He also seemed oblivious to his surroundings and was engrossed in what he was doing. He sipped on his paper cup of coffee approximately at three minute intervals, and hardly ever looked up. I also observed a woman with two female children about five year’s old sitting with another woman with no children. The two women sat drinking their coffee while the two girls each eat a pastry of some kind and washed it down with what looked like hot chocolate.

An African American couple walked in as I sat observing everyone and reading a newspaper. They walked over to the counter and placed their order than went to sit down at the table that was next to the two women and the two girls.

I had been inside of the Starbucks approximately fifteen minutes when a guy carrying some rolled up blueprints came walking in. I noticed that he started looking around as if searching for someone but not finding them. He was about thirty years old, black hair, had a goatee beard and wore wire rimmed glasses. He walked over to the counter and ordered a French Vanilla coffee; I heard this because he said it rather loudly.

He sat down at the table next to me and proceeded to unroll the blueprints that he was carrying. I had a bit of training in architecture so I recognized that the prints were of a house that I assumed he was either designing or having someone else do the design work for him.

 

 

This individual went up to the counter and got his cup of coffee when they called out his name then went back to his table and continued to look over the blueprints. He was making notations on the prints with a pencil then would consider what he had just wrote down then would sometimes erase the notations.

I am guessing that he had just been there about ten minutes when another guy about thirty years of age also came into the Starbucks and walked over to his table. The first guy immediately stood up, stuck out his hand and shook the second guys hand while at the same time saying,”hey it’s good to see ya dude”.

The two guys than sat down at the table, had some small talk with one another then proceeded to go over the blueprints that the first guy had brought with him. These two guys remained at the table discussing changes to the house designs and sipping at their coffee. It started getting late for me, so I finished up my cup of coffee, grabbed my newspaper, got up and left.

From my observations in the Starbuck’s coffee shop, I learned more about the human interactions of people. People definitely like to gather together and socialize with one another, and I believe that this is a good thing. People need each other, and coming together to talk and express free ideas is imperative to the continued existence of mankind.