This movement began in the late 1960s in the United States of America (U . S. A) and its formation was facilitated by the sharp divergence on the value of urban systems between those in government and those out of government. The citizens were not satisfied with the way decisions were made in the government and even the power distribution was not to their satisfaction. Because the process of making urban policies was structurally inaccessible, the citizen participation movement was formed to act as a strategic political weapon to enter and influence the process.
This movement focused mainly on redistribution of goods and services in the society, and particularly on the rights of the low income people, the high rate of unemployment and the large number of people living in the decayed city centers (Feldman & Goldrick, 1976). In the 1970s, the role of the citizen participation movement started to change from being associated with political process to implementation and administrative processes. This change was brought up by the politicians, who saw that the citizens will be less involved in the revolution process if they can be mobilized to participate in the development processes.
Furthermore, the realization by citizens that their involvement in the implementation process will bring more positive change than the undeveloped political process, could have resulted to the change of attitude within the movement (Ayee, 2000). Some of the citizen movements were not well organized and hence brought little change to the political leadership of the most countries. For the citizen movements to effective in bringing change to a country they need to be more empowered to do so. They need to be funded and their leadership needs to be well organized.
Furthermore, they should be independent and not controlled by ambitious politicians who are looking for votes. In most of the cases, decisions made in the citizen participation movements are politically controlled. These movements need to have leaders who are focused, independent and not money driven as this could lead to the collapse of the movement. The American suburbs The suburbs have a long tradition in the America’s history. The term suburb was mainly used to refer to an area outside the city but is economically connected to the city.
The suburbs have been around since the early years of the 19th century and its population has been low. But after the Second World War, the number of marriages increased and there was sharp increase in the suburbs population (E-note, 2009). In a recent study, Boustan and Shertzer (2008) discovered that the number of people living in the cities has decreased by about 1. 2% annually, from 1950 to early 2006. This has therefore led to a sharp rise in the suburban population.
In year 2001, there were about 25,000 people living in Manhattan but in the recent years the number has increased to about 50,000 people and about a quarter of the population is composed of couples and children (Ehrenhalt, 2008). The problems which were mainly faced by the people living in the suburbs include; bad roads, water shortages, lack of electricity and fuel, security among others. The state has tried to improve their livelihood by providing them with electricity and fuel, building dams to curb the water shortage and even improve the infrastructure by building roads and railways.
Many public schools have been built in the suburbs and this has really led to many children being able to learn and improve their knowledge (Ehrenhalt, 2008). Even though the government has tried to improve the life in the suburbs, the new urbanism movement is required in order to inform the government when new problems arise. Sometimes, the government can be reluctant and hence needs to be reminded and forced to solve the problems which have arisen. The urbanism movement can be helpful in starting projects that help in improving the livelihood of the people in the suburbs.
Metro government With the metro government, the boundaries of the major cities cannot be expanded easily since the process is undesirable and impracticable with the big population in the urban areas. The powers of the metro authority in a given area are shared with the small local governments in that area and this therefore strengthens its political appeal. Furthermore, the metro government structure can vary and also has direct powers and hence can make decisions independently.
When forming the democratic system, its officials are indirectly elected by leaders from the smaller local governments or directly by the citizens (Self, 1982). The planning in the cities is not cost effective therefore a government reform is a necessity. The formation of a metro government will bring the structure of the government in line with the social and economical needs of the people. Most people believe that the metro government system will be more efficient and will save a lot of money. Theoretically, the metro government system will promote equality.
It takes over functions like transportation, cultural facilities and social welfare which are evenly distributed and distributes them evenly. The finances will also be distributed according to needs. Some argue that financial equalization will be operated with much political impartiality by the state government than by the metro system in practice. However, for this to be so, the metro authority should have greater accountability and knowledge. In the metro government, citizens are given the opportunity to choose from the different services offered by the units in this system.
However, the units are shaped politically and hence cannot grow or expand like business companies when competition is intense between the units (Self, 1982). With the metro system the government will have greater power to control and even protect its resources. There will be fewer conflicts between small local governments which usually arise due the boundary markings since they will be no boundaries between them (Kemp, 1999). There are some people who argue that the metro system will not guarantee efficiency when the functions of the smaller governments are restricted.
With the metro government, there will a decrease in the participation of citizens in decision making and even identity of communities will weaken. Furthermore, there will power struggles in the metro system and for the unknown there will a change in the status quo (Kemp, 1999). Since the metro system has many advantages than the disadvantages, many people prefer the system and perceive it as the solution to the many problems facing the small local governments. There are even those that prefer the partial consolidation system in order to reduce the weaknesses of fully consolidated system of government (Kemp, 1999).