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'What problems do urban planners face? How are they to be solved?

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Introduction

'What problems do urban planners face? How are they to be solved?' Urban planning is 'the discipline of land use planning' which attempts to balance social, economic and environmental factors to induce prosperity. Urban planners have a hoard of problems facing them, and through trial and improvement have formed many solutions to the issues that they encounter, most of which are still being tested in modern development. The problems range from devising appropriate aesthetics for settlements, to the prevention of urban sprawl and use of gentrification to prevent the occurrence of the doughnut effect. Some suggested and tried solutions include the construction of high rise flats and the establishment of green belts, following work from Ebenezer Howard in 1944. One of the primary problems of urban planning is the current condition of housing in inner city areas, which forces the often capital intensive modernisation of housing, known as gentrification. This is often seen as a simple and environmentally friendly solution to the construction of housing within and around the green belt on greenfield sites. The improvement of pre-existing brownfield sites would prevent the occurrence of the doughnut effect, whereby a settlement slowly expands outwards; the central areas become dated, deserted and run down with few amenities. The authorities were keen to prevent this from happening, whilst protecting Britain's famous green countryside. ...read more.

Middle

Finally social capital can suffer as housing becomes low-density and reliance on cars means that people do not even have the opportunity to meet neighbors when waiting for the bus, train etc. This may reduce the quality of life for many residents and prevent the formation of any community spirit. Furthermore public spaces such as parks can become less common as they are replaced with private, fenced in gardens which increase the sale value of properties and further reduce the chance of any social capital being gained. Generally the government endorses two predominant methods of preventing urban sprawl and solving this issue. The first of these is through physical barriers, such as the M25 around London. This makes the area unattractive and thus prevents the development of that area, which, in theory, closes development within a certain boundary. The second method is used around the country; green belts. Green belts are rings of green countryside around towns and cities within which urbanisation is strongly resisted, but not technically prohibited. The government sees many advantages to the use of green belts; initially they prevent urban sprawl and provide a green region for the urban population to practice leisure activities and relax. This contributes towards the government aim to preserving the environment and protecting some endangered species, including indigenous birds. ...read more.

Conclusion

The EU structural funds currently provide twice as much funding as the UK government and would contribute to the attraction of new employment as well as making general improvements to the quality of life offered in Consett. This would help to attract new residents and generate further demand for business, furthering an economic recovery. A final issue faced by urban planners is the availability of resources. A prime example of this is in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Phoenix is located in the state of Arizona, a predominantly dry and arid region of the US, with the Colorado River being virtually its only source of fresh water. Without crucial resources such as water no settlement can survive. This problem was solved through the construction of the Hoover dam on the Colorado River which provides the city with both electricity (through hydroelectricity) and water through the resultant reservoir. Through irrigation the city is now often described as an oasis, with luscious green farmland and golf courses. Without the river, Phoenix would be unable to exist thus proving that the availability of natural resources is just as important today as it has been throughout history. In conclusion, urban planners do face a large number of problems, though as proved; there are a large number of solutions that could be taken into account and used; government investment, use of brownfield sites and generation of employment to name a few. ...read more.

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