Urban politics is a complex process and requires the participation of stakeholders in the society. Decision-makers and policy-makers should also be equipped with the necessary leadership skills that take into account the situation of the city and its inhabitants, as well as the dynamics of national and global issues that affect the various aspects of city and urban life. Cities are where most of the economic and political activities of a country are conducted.
The major industries are located in the cities, employment and unemployment tend to coexist in the cities and there are also a number of other issues that affect the situation of the United States. Cities and urban places are the places of convergence of people, industries, governance and politics. Cities and other urban areas lead the drive towards growth. They are also at the forefront of governance and politics because of the flurry of various activities going on (Judd & Swanstorm, 2005).
Urban politics is interesting because there are a lot of stakeholders in the society. There are a lot of people clamoring for jobs and wanting to have a part in the governance process. I would imagine, there are also people who are marginalized in the politics of the cities. It would be interesting how these marginalized people assert their rights and influence the governance and policy process. The interaction between different groups and sectors in the society is also another interesting facet of urban politics.
Race issues, possession and non-possession of properties, and even cultural and minority issues all have their impact on the quality of life of the people living in any given city. When it comes to assumptions, I used to think that urban politics is simply governed by those who occupy the corridors of power in the city and that every major decision is made by them alone. Furthermore, people tend to organize themselves and influence different kinds of people who possess important power in the society.
Some of my assumptions were correct, some of them were wrong. As it turned out, the policy process is more complicated and dynamic in any city and affected by political movements of different groups in the society, the culture of the society, the level of economic prosperity as well as by the technology available in the cities and other urban areas. (McCann, 2002; Judd & Swanstorm, 2005). Poverty and unemployment is definitely a major issue in urban politics in the United States today. It is not only a question of race, of poverty and of lost opportunities.
Economic inequalities and severe joblessness create a situation of unrest in inner cities and neighborhoods, which disturb the peace and equilibrium of the society (Wilson, 1996). Racial inequality is also another contributing factor to this unrest in the society. This kind of inequality is harmful to the social capital and tends to undermine the social capital not only of the urban area concerned, but of the whole nation (Hero, 2003). There are several intervention strategies by government to address the problems and issues of the society.
Yet, not all of these strategies are effective, however. There are times in which good intentions produce unintended results and greater inequality such as the provision of dole outs, which simply entrench dependency thinking on the part of marginalized sector. To prevent these kinds of instances, policy decisions should be done in consultation and with the participation of significant sectors in the society.
Hero, R. E. (2003). Social Capital and Racial Inequality in America. Perspective on Politics, 1, 113-122. Judd, D. R. & Swanstorm, T. (2005). City Politics: The Political Economy of Urban America. New York: Longman. McCann, E. J. (2002). The cultural politics of local economic development: meaning-making, place-making, and the urban policy process. Geoforum, 33, 385-398. Retrieved 2 Oct 2007 from http://www. sfu. ca/geography/people/faculty/Faculty_sites/EugeneMcCann/documents/Cultural%20Politics. pdf. Wilson, W. J. (1996). When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. New York: Knopf.