Congress and the Fate of Urban Community Development

This Chrysler commercial debuted during the most recent Super Bowl, when advertisements are most often anticipated and recognized for their unusual creativity, expense, and celebrity cameos. On the surface, this clip appears to only showcase rapper Eminem in an attempt to sell cars, but in truth touches upon a much deeper topic.

The recent economic downturn affected millions of Americans, but struggles were augmented for those residing in cities. With slashed budgets and reduced funding, city dwellers couldn’t help but feel the negative effects. Congressional legislation and financial support influence so many aspects of everyday life, including education and transportation. After-school programs halted, while train and bus fares swelled. Backing for infrastructure waned, while federal subsidies for higher education disappeared. Thousands have been left unemployed and under pressure to find work. In such a stringent economic climate, what impact will the diminished funding continue to have urban communities?

The advertisement paints Detroit – perhaps the city hit hardest by the collapse of the auto industry and the loss of thousands of jobs – as a proud and resilient metropolis, seemingly unaffected by the financial slump. The development of urban communities is so important today; millions of Americans live in cities, with this population increasing steadily every year. With the influx of people, it needs to be determined how the government can assist and maintain this urban society. Congress and the government help create regulations involving education, employment, transportation, housing, and public health. The issue of urban community development is not new – municipal growth and maintenance has been an area of concern for the government since the late 19th century – but I think it is especially pressing now.

Too often, a lack of funding is most devastating to low-income and at-risk families; action and research are needed at this juncture to efficiently accommodate a dwindling budget and the needs of these residents to allow urban communities the chance to recover and flourish. Thus, the nation should strengthen as a whole. Congressional legislation undeniably has a direct effect on the future of urban inhabitants. Faced with persistent financial concerns and ever-changing political opinions over what direction legislation should take, America’s urban communities are at crossroads. Will they find further weakness and disadvantage, or will they find pride, like Detroit?

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About lydiascott

Hi! My name is Lydia Scott and I'm a senior at Penn State University, and I will be graduating in May of 2012. I'm completing concurrent majors in History, Philosophy, and Labor Studies and Employment Relations. My research topic focuses on the role of Congressional legislation in urban community development. Outside of academics, I'm also a member of Penn State's women's ice hockey team. After graduation, I hope to earn a master's degree in urban planning.
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