World of Cities

About this class

The aim of the course is to ask how and why cities grow, where humans choose to live, and to look at the evolution of “place” over time.

Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by AmandaMateus on October 4, 2017
The article, “Can Smarter Growth Guide China’s Urban Building Boom?” by David Biello, the science curator for TED as well as the contributing editor for Scientific American, explains several ideas and setbacks regarding rapid growth in cities, particularly in the city Ordos in China. In this article, Biello justifies the effects of rapid urbanization on the environment and presents practical solutions to avoid unsustainable methods of construction. The high demand for apartment buildings and amenities for the million new residents in these areas leads to poor construction.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Simon Dupuis on October 4, 2017
Health care has skyrocketed in the U.S. in the past decades due to increasing rates of obesity. The cause of this is that Americans are buying unhealthy products. This phenomenon can be decreased by changing the store’s structure. When going to the supermarket, the essential products, like milk or eggs, are placed in the back. This way, costumers must walk through the store, and they see many other products, which leads to unplanned purchases. The most common unplanned purchases are sugar-sweetened beverages and other junk food.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by tanguaymarilou on October 4, 2017
The article “Embourgeoisement insidieux à HoMa?” discusses the impacts of gentrification in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Firstly, the author outlines the new phenomenon of co-propriety which lead to the loss of multiples housings in this neighborhood. Because of the steep growth in costs, housings are not affordable anymore, so people have to share their rents. This share is what describes the phenomenon of co-propriety. In other words, co-ownership is the division of a housing to make it affordable. According to a study in this neighborhood, co-ownership divides in 2 types.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Sandrine Bédard on October 4, 2017
A) Purpose of the article The authors explain the cause of the gentrification in New York and propose 4 ways to solve the problem. The purpose of the article is to start a discussion on the urban crisis in New York and more precisely, to encourage the community to come up with a solution plan.   B) Authors’ main points used to support their opinion

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by MarieLaurence on October 4, 2017
The article “4,000 people are now homeless in Greater Vancouver” by Jen St-Denis from Metro addresses the crisis of homeless people in Vancouver. In fact, he states that 4000 residents are now homeless compared to 2777 in 2014, which results of an increase of 26% every year since 2011. Moreover, it can be traduced by the fact that five people lose their housing each week due to a real estate boom and because more people are coming in the province for work which caused a raise of rents. Facing this major homelessness crisis, Vancouver lacks a poverty reduction plan to face the problem.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Calvin Liu on October 3, 2017
The article "Why don't black and white Americans live together" by Rajini Vaidyanathan from BBC News explains the residential segregation in the United States. Since the Fair Housing Act in 1968, discrimination in housing is illegal. However, the author shows that racial segregation is still present in the US. According to the Brookings Institution, the biggest cities in US have segregation levels of between 50 to 70 percent. It seems a lot, but we can clearly distinguish this issue in cities such as Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, etc.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by davidmurray on October 2, 2017
This article discusses the problem of homelessness in New York City and outlines a few solutions.   New York City has a growing homelessness problem. It has reached its highest level since the 1930s with around one in every 135 adults being homeless. Around 130 thousand people are currently homeless, most of which sleep in shelters. However, some must resign themselves to sleeping in the streets or in the subway. Most of the homeless are from minority groups such as African-Americans and Latinos.  

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5 days 11 hours ago

I chose your summary to comment because United Kingdom’s situation these days is really fragile. I absolutely like your title, Divided Kingdom instead of United Kingdom! Due to their long history and cultures differences, the population in the United Kingdom is indeed very divided.

For the specific case with Northern Ireland and Ireland, the separation will indeed create complication for borders since neither the UK nor Ireland are part of the Schengen Area, therefore European Union members are not affected. However, these two countries have their own border custom laws, being the “common travel area, which has facilitated travel and work arrangements between the two islands for almost a century.” Theresa May plans to keep these travel laws in order to “[preserve the] Irish-British trade” and relations.

In my opinion, this is a really difficult situation since the separation will not really solve problems, it will only further divide the nation. As a matter of fact, if the UK really exits the EU, this will partially isolate the British since they would not be able to travel the same way as they would do, as being part of the EU. Nevertheless, they won’t be required to have a VISA, but it might be less easier. At the end, I think that it is a bad idea for the British to drop-out from the EU for selfish reasons, such as lowering their economy. Being part of one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world, should not they help other countries rather than satisfying themselves? They are already enjoying many exemptions (opt-outs) from the EU such as the common currency, the borders control and common laws.

Boland, V. (2017). Locals fear Brexit means new barriers along the UK-Irish border. FT.Com, Retrieved from https://proquest-crc.proxy.ccsr.qc.ca/docview/1873118682?accountid=44391

5 days 11 hours ago

Hi Iggman. I chose to answer your summary since I found its content quite interesting. Indeed, air pollution is a health issue not often brought up by people, which I is something that bothers me since it has a very big effect on people' health. If we wish to be able to live in our cities without having to wear gas masks when we go outside, I believe it is now time to take more actions to solve this problem.

At first, as you mentionned, I also believe people should make more efforts to reduce their environmental impact to help us all have a pure air to breathe. But I also believe our governments have a big gap to fill towards how our environment is treated. In my mind, it is time to put in place various measures to preserve nature, because we are now at a crucial point where our actions will determine the lives of our children and grandchildren. As Louise Smith explains: “As shown in various studies, climate change has now reached a peak, and it is our duty to leave our children and their children a planet where they can live.” (Smith, 2017, p.9). As the article mentions, the overall density of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has now surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history, and the health effects due to this rise are still unknown. This recent rise in CO2 shows a remarkably constant relationship with fossil-fuel burning, and can be well accounted for based on the simple premise that about 60 percent of fossil-fuel emissions stay in the air.

Thus, a good way to start improving our air quality would be to leave the car at home if possible and take the bus, or even the bike to reduce our environmental impact. Not only would taking the bike help the air, but it would also improve people's pysical health.

Works Cited
Smith, L., D’Antoni, D. (2017). Psychosocial and demographic predictors of adherence and non-adherence to health advice accompanying air quality warning systems: a systematic review. Plos ONE, 11(3), 1-18. doi:16.1483/journal.pone.0257830

5 days 11 hours ago

I chose your article because traffic is indeed something that we almost all go through when living in the Metropolitan area and does have a massive impact on the environment, I mean just look at the weather this year. While I do agree that working at home would be part of a solution to solve traffic and be more environmental-friendly, it is certainly not an option that everyone can have, for example, us, students.
There have been many proposed solutions throughout the years to help solve this issue, but none have ever been 100% efficient, far from it. For example, while taking public transport does have a lower impact on the environment than driving to and from work or school, it lacks schedule flexibility that many are looking for and as such, cannot be the only way of reducing traffic and its impact on the environment. Carpooling could also be part of the solution. It offers more flexibility in terms of schedule, but at the same time requires a significant amount of organization and planning, which, in the long term, is difficult. Similar to carpooling, composite traffic is a solution that scientists studied in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Composite traffic is a door-to-door service that involves transporting many people to different places in a single car, a mix of a taxi and a bus, for a cost. It would be an interesting solution to consider as it can offer flexibility while lowering the number of cars on the road too.
In the end, there are many other possible partial solutions to the issue of traffic and its environmental impact, but I don’t think that a single solution for this issue is possible as there are so many factors to take into account and that there will always be someone who cannot find an option that fits him or her.

Tuomisto, J. T., & Tainio, M. (2005). An economic way of reducing health, environmental, and other pressures of urban traffic: a decision analysis on trip aggregation. BMC Public Health, 5(1), 123-37. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-123

5 days 12 hours ago

The topic of pollution definitely interests me as even though it is widely consired as one of the world's most important issues, as suggested by the article that I have found, which compares its impact to that of Ebola and HIV, at the moment, there are still people who take the state of the environment for granted and do not believe in global warming. The points made in the summary of the article are definitely valid as pollution obviously have negative effects on health and it is our duty to instore institutions and initiate plans of action to solve the issue. I think that even though it is kind of cliché at this point since we have been warned against polluting so many times, we still have to be remembered of this issue that plagues of the world.
Kirk, Ashley and Patrick Scott. "How high is air pollution in your city and how does it compare to the most polluted cities in the world?" The Telegraph, 11 Oct. 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/high-air-pollution-city-does-compare-t...

5 days 12 hours ago

Hi Tristan. Since I also dealt with the consequences of overpopulation in my summary, I found your article very interesting since it deals about issues we currently experience here in Canada, which I knew nothing about before I read your summary (which was nicely done by the way!). Moreover, I also believe the population of a city plays a big role in its shaping and development, so discussing this topic is interesting to me.

I must say, I strongly agree with you that the housing issue you described will not be solved soon. Due to their excessive growth, suburbs have grown into sprawls, which are now too far away from the city for their residents to reach it easily. As Andrejs Skaburskis explains : “(canadian) suburbs developed to the point where their main purpose of offering lodgements near downtown is gone, (...) ” (Skaburskis, 2014, p.120). Due to excessive population, the suburbs have grown too much and, as you mentionned, people are now heading back in the cities. At this point, it is only normal that the housing costs increase due to the phenomena of supply and demand: there are more people asking for houses in cities, so the prices go up. This is why the price of “low-quality housing is so high compared to the income of the lowest-income households.” (Skaburskis, 2014, p121) in urban areas, which causes many issues for people with less means.

In conclusion, the overpopulation in Canada has consequences everywhere, and, as you mentionned, housing costs are not spared.

Works Cited

Skaburskis, A. "Decomposing Canada’s Growing Housing Affordability Problem: Do City Differences Matter?"Urban Studies, vol. 41, no. 3, 2014, pp. 117-141, http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=11&sid=8099d6e4..., doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2166/wpt.2015.048.

5 days 14 hours ago

Hi Igman,
I am happy that you brought up the subject of air pollution as an urban issue because it is a worldwide problem that should be at the top of the list of our preoccupations right now. Indeed, not only is air pollution bad for the health of city dwellers, but it is also responsible for the greenhouse effect and meteorological disequilibrium.
I agree that, for significant improvement to be made, there needs to be government interventions as well as individual efforts. More specifically, I think, like you, that people should avoid using cars and try public transports, biking or even walking (whenever feasible) instead.
A study by the European Environmental Agency shows that “motorized transport is responsible for 70% of environmental pollution and 40% of greenhouse gases emissions in European cities” (Rojas-Rueda, et al., 2016). A study conducted by Rojas-Rueda et al. (2016) measured that, for six different European cities, a scenario where 35 % of the population commuted by bike (like in Copenhagen) would lead to considerable reductions of carbon dioxide emissions (up to 26,423 metric tons/year). Also, that same study concluded that “active transportation policies can result in health benefits” (Rojas-Rueda, et al., 2016).
Thus, there is no better way to fight air pollution and to stay healthy than by taking the bike and walking whenever possible.
Works Cited
Rojas-Rueda, D., de Nazelle, A., Andersen, Z. J., Braun-Fahrländer, C., Bruha, J., Bruhova-Foltynova, H., & ... Nieuwenhuijsen, M. J. (2016). Health Impacts of Active Transportation in Europe. Plos ONE, 11(3), 1-14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149990

5 days 15 hours ago

This summary is interesting because it really shows the growing problem that Mexico City faces concerning drug cartels. I had heard about this problem in the past on the news but I never really realized how big of an issue it actually was. As mentioned in the summary, the Mexican government should change its approach regarding the control of drug cartels. However, it should also change the way it deals with crimes related to drug cartels. Mexico City is a city with a big economic disparity. As a result, generally, the people most affected by drug cartel crimes are the middle and lower-class citizens (Munoz Martinez, 2014, p.35). However, these people do not have a lot of money or influence. Thus, most government institutions do not see these crimes as a pressing matter. Yet, if the crime was committed on an individual from a wealthy background with resources, then, the case could be solved in a matter of days. Moreover, as the author of Criminal Violence and Social Control points out: “Class inequality and differential access to justice pervade even the state security institutions themselves” (p.35). Thus, the Mexican government should find a way to control drug cartels but it should also allow the victims of these crimes to seek justice against them no matter their financial or political resources.

Reference
Munoz Martinez, H. (2014). Criminal Violence and Social Control. NACLA Report on the Americas, 47 (1), 35-36. Retrieved from Academic Search Elite.

5 days 15 hours ago

This summary is very thought-provoking because it clearly illustrates the problems with rapid urbanization in developing countries. I completely agree with the idea that governments should intervene in city planning in order to minimize the effects of rapid urbanization. As mentioned in the summary, China’s carbon dioxide emission has a great impact on the health of everyone in the world but it has an even bigger impact on the health of the Chinese population. A survey done in 2006 revealed that “more than a quarter of municipal drinking water plants and more than half of private plants were not complying with monitoring requirements for water quality” (Gong, et al., 2012, p.847). The infrastructure already established these cities does not function properly. Yet, the population continues to grow exponentially. Thus, rapid urbanization will lead to health problems for city residents since the municipalities are not yet equipped to welcome and accommodate such a large number of newcomers. Furthermore, due to the influx of residents and factories, pollution has significantly grown which has led to 400 000 premature deaths per year in China (p.847). Thus, rapid urbanization in developing countries has a tremendous negative impact on the new residents as well as on the world. That is why smart growth law are a great idea for developing countries.

Reference
Gong, P., Liang, S., Carlton, E.J., Jiang, Q., Wu, J., Wang, J., & Remais, J.V. (2012) Urbanization and Health in China. The Lancet, 379 (9818), 843-852. Retrieved from Research Library.

5 days 18 hours ago

I think you summarized the article quite faithfully, although I feel there are some points that would require some precision. First of all, from what I can see, this article is entirely centered on the united states and its own social issues. This is shown through reference to the Jim Crow laws, as well as the generally more racist background the article assumes to be existing, which is mostly present in the US. It would maybe have been a good idea to indicate the national bias this article has, as many of the points do not apply, or do in a minor way, to less socially lagging nations such as Canada, and many other western countries. Secondly, the argument for the de-privatization of spaces, I feel, is a bit utopian. Indeed, if all spaces are rendered public (public as in owned by the government or just publically available?), I doubt this would change the human nature and/or greed of those in power, they would still only spend on things that would benefit them personally, regardless of if the space can only be accessed by them or by everyone. Finally, in your summary, the article sounds as if the placing of industrial facilities in low-income areas, and in the scope of this US-biased article, people of color, is purposefully targeting these areas in order to maintain supremacy over these people. In reality, corporations and governments will usually build facilities that offer low-income low-qualification jobs in low-income areas because that is where both jobs are the most needed, but also where the most people are likely to take up those jobs. You wouldn't install a factory in a wealthy neighbourhood, as no one close by would want to work there, and people who would need those jobs wouldn't want to pay for transportation all the way across the city if they can avoid it. This was my little bit of input, congrats once more on faithfully summarizing the article you chose.
States Challenge Cities, Nonprofit Low-Income Housing Industrial Complex
Roger Valdez - https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogervaldez/2017/01/30/states-challenging-c...

5 days 18 hours ago

This particular article’s summary interests me because I have some family members who live in the United States and it upsets me that violent crimes have increased there. It is accurate that crime rates are higher than they were before. Sanburn (2015) points out that homicides increased by 15% in New York and by 18% in Chicago compare to last year, while murders in Saint-Louis augmented by 82%. Many factors can explain this raise. In addition to what Charles indicated in his summary, Sanburn (2015) also mentions other factors like the warmer weather and the tension between the police and the civil. However, even if we know the factors that cause all those crimes, we will not be able to stop them. As Charles mentioned, violence will always be present in the world and mainly in big cities.

Source: Sanburn, J. (2015). Rising Violence. Time, 185(22), 16.

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