SOC 2390 Lecture Notes - Social Forces, Anomie, Social Disorganization Theory

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29 Jan 2013
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Urbanization
• A metropolitan area or metropolis is a densely populated core area, together with adjacent
communities. The largest city in each metropolitan areas is designated as the “central city.” Current
standards require that each newly qualifying metropolitan area must include at least one city or urban
area with at least 50,000 residents and a total metropolitan population of at least 100,000.
• As of June 1998, there were 256 metropolitan areas in the United States; one U.S. state, New Jersey, is
entirely occupied by metropolitan areas.
• The United States is an urban nation, with four out of five Americans living in metropolitan areas.
Within these metropolitan areas, there has been a dramatic population shift from the cities to the
suburbs. Those who move to the suburbs are predominantly upper middle class, middle class, and to a
lesser extent working class whites.
Urban sprawl refers to the low-density, automobile dependent development outside the central city.
Urban sprawl absorbs farmland at a rate of about 50 acres an hour in the U.S., an area the size of
Connecticut and Rhode Island every 10 years.
Consequences of Urban Sprawl:
1) Environmental Effects include the disruption of wildlife habitats, the altering of rivers and streams,
and pollution.
2) Racial and Class Segregation concentrated areas of poor housing and squalor in heavily populated
urban areas are called slums. A slum section of a city occupied primarily by a minority group is referred
to as a ghetto. U.S. minorities, who are disproportionately represented among the poor, tend to be
segregated in concentrated areas of low-income housing. The fact that minorities so not have the
resources to move out of inner-city neighborhoods results in involuntary segregationwhites move out,
leaving nonwhites behind.
3) Declining Quality of Urban Life as a result of the loss of tax revenue, the quality of housing,
education, health care, and other social institutions declines.
Strategies for Action: Saving Our Cities
• A number of strategies have been proposed and implemented to restore prosperity to U.S. cities and
well-being to their residents, businesses, and workers, including strategies to attract new businesses,
create jobs, and repopulate cities.
1) The Empowerment zone/Enterprise community program (EZ/EC) provides tax incentives and
performance grants and loans to create jobs for residents living within the designated zone or
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