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SCO115 Cities & Crises Assignment SUSS Sample Singapore

The rapid growth of global population has led to a profusion in urban areas, and this presents new risks when it comes time for crisis management. The potential impact that these cities have on our world today makes them among the most vulnerable points at which society can be disrupted by any given event–leading us closer towards understanding what current urban issues potentially disrupting Our Societies and how do City’s Crises emerge within their context.

Urban crises are everywhere. From gentrification and technolizisation to migration, cities all over the world continue experiencing changes that can lead to social exclusion for some members of society while others reap benefits from these developments in terms economic wealth or lifestyle choices – but often at a price which might not always seem fair somehow? This course will explore how urban spaces–both inside downtown cores as well outside them-shape crisis situations by influencing both their causes and resolutions through an inquiry into spatial justice.

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The course thus provides a chance to think and debate about topics such as: gentrification, police violence in suburbs, inequality, social justice movements in urban space. Through the inquiry into spatial justice we will be looking at how cities work and examine who benefits from urban spaces and who is excluded or marginalized by their current conditions.

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Assignment Activity 1: Describe the ways in which city life and urban development relate to the production of crises.

The way that urban development relates to the production of crises is complicated and multi-faceted. As populations grow and cities become more populous, it places increased stress on the environment and on infrastructure. This can lead to a variety of problems, such as water shortages, air pollution, traffic congestion, and crime.

In addition, the way cities are designed often exacerbates these issues. For example, many cities are built around cars rather than pedestrians or public transportation, which leads to increased traffic congestion and air pollution. And in many cases, low-income neighborhoods are located in undesirable areas that are prone to crime or environmental hazards.

So there are a number of ways in which urban development can contribute to the production of crises, both by placing stress on the environment, as well as by creating problems that are unique to urban spaces.

Urban development can also have a significant impact on inequality within cities. Many cities are highly unequal in terms of neighborhoods and access to resources, with affluent neighborhoods separated from lower income neighborhoods by physical distance or low-income housing projects.

Assignment Activity 2: Identify social, cultural, and political actors and institutions involved in managing urban crises.

In identifying social, cultural, and political actors and institutions involved in managing urban crises it is important to note that there are myriad structures at play. 

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There are direct structures such as the municipal government or a mayor’s office, but also indirect ones like a cause organization. There may also be more diffuse forms of authority in a society which provide for the legitimacy of an actor. These could include ceremonial events where people make presentations about their solutions to an issue-for instance, how they brought peace to a community in conflict with others-or religious authorities who legitimize adherence to certain beliefs or norms. 

It is also important not just to map out all these structures but watch for cycles of change over time at different levels, as well as the intersections between them. For example, a mayor’s office may be working on a new policy to address an urban crisis but actors in the community may not have been consulted and may resist the change. In this case, there would be a power struggle between the two groups with potential implications for how the crisis is managed.

Assignment Activity 3: Explain the relationship between the urban and the non-urban in the making of cities and their crises.

The relationship between the urban and the non-urban in the making of cities and their crises is a complicated one. On one hand, cities rely on rural areas for resources such as food, water, and energy. And yet, as cities grow and become more industrialized, they often come into conflict with rural areas over land use, pollution, and other issues.

Cities also tend to be more unequal than rural areas, with a smaller proportion of the population controlling a larger share of wealth and resources. This inequality can lead to social unrest and violence. Additionally, cities are often hubs of innovation and creativity, but they can also be centers of crime and poverty.

Urban life can also bring about new forms of mental illness, as the stress of living in a dense environment overwhelms some people. On the other hand, cities are incredibly productive for economies. Urban areas are centers of industrial production and home to many educated workers. Cities also tend to attract migrants from rural areas who hope that they will be able to find work and improve their standard of living.

Assignment Activity 4: Discuss how governmental and non-governmental actors affect urban crises.

Governments and non-governmental actors both have a role to play in addressing urban crises.

Governments can provide financial assistance, enact legislation to improve the situation, and provide support to NGOs working in the area. However, governments can also create or aggravate crises through their policies or actions. For example, they may neglect urban areas, leading to deterioration and poverty; or they may forcibly evict residents from their homes without providing adequate alternative housing, which can leave people homeless and vulnerable.

Non-governmental actors – including NGOs, community groups, and social movements – often have local knowledge that governments lack and are better positioned to provide services directly to affected communities. They can also mobilise grassroots support for change and advocate for policy reforms.

Assignment Activity 5: Analyse the effectiveness of various urban policies in mitigating crises.

Mitigating crises is a complex task that typically requires a variety of urban policies to be effective.

Some common urban policies that can help mitigate crises include: regulating building codes to ensure safe and sturdy construction, establishing emergency evacuation procedures and protocols, creating public transportation hubs that facilitate evacuation, investing in green infrastructure to reduce the impact of natural disasters, and creating incentives for businesses to open in under-served areas.

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Each policy has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to carefully consider the needs of each city before implementing any policies. By working together, cities can create a comprehensive plan that will help them mitigate any type of crisis they may face.

It’s also important to note that, in some cases, a city may not be able to mitigate a crisis on its own. In these situations, it’s crucial for the city to work with neighboring municipalities and states to create a coordinated response plan. By working together, cities can minimize the damage caused by any type of crisis.

Assignment Activity 6: Develop strategies for addressing and averting urban crises.

One very promising approach to protracted urban crises is the practice of participatory monitoring. This entails enabling people to use devices like simple digital cameras, GPS locators, and cell phones for documenting their everyday lives in an intimate way.

Participatory monitoring has been used by organizations such as “Open Society’s Metro Program” after Katrina in New Orleans where it proved effective at illuminating the realities of racialized poverty following Hurricane Katrina for both policy-makers and general citizens. The idea is that rapidly changing conditions can be better confronted with intelligence on current realities than without it — so empowering communities to document what is happening around them increases chances of addressing problems while they are small enough to be rectified.

There are many different participatory monitoring technologies, such as “video diaries” for women’s rights movements to document violence, or the OpenStreetMap project that enlists citizens worldwide to gather data about roads and other infrastructure. There are also lots of applications for smartphones that can be quite valuable in emergencies — apps like Crisis Mapping allow people to communicate with each other, or post reports about damages or needs, while the crisis is ongoing.

Participatory monitoring isn’t a panacea; it’s just one part of a larger process for creating equitable cities in periods of rapid change. But when used well, participatory monitoring can play a vital role in revealing what “ordinary people” Crowdsourcing platforms like Ushahidi have been used to great effect in many contexts, such as the tracking of sexual assaults during the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo.

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