- Social Polarization & Role of Planning    click here to open paper content61 kb
by    Garewal, Rameeta | garewal_r@yahoo.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
In a global economy and with cultures deep rooted in the socio-economic class system, economic disparities in the developing and developed world strengthen the divide between the upper and under-class. How can planning and design spur social integration for the socially segregated?

… physical, economic & social handicaps are self reinforcing resulting in spatially concentrated poor and creating a culture of poverty.

Third world countries, as a result of globalization, are experiencing widening economic disparities and the divide between established urban socio-economic groups is now deeper and more pronounced.

Metropolitans like Bombay and Delhi experience excess migration & supply of labor leading to unemployment of immigrants. Illiteracy & lack of skills are causes of incompatibility between the migrants and the recipient city. This incompatibility perpetuates a vicious circle leading not only to unemployment, but ghetto type, socially polarized, spatially segregated neighborhoods.

Incompatibility between demand and supply of labor is responsible for the creation of an urban underclass with totally different standards & values. This phenomenon is followed by degradation of such settlements and an increase in crime.

Such is the way that social polarization acts as a major cause of spatial segregation. Where experience has shown that even physical proximity may not guarantee socio-economic integration, can physical land controls reverse social polarization. Especially in a land like India with traditions deep-rooted in the class system, can the new globalized economy, by opening new markets and opportunities and giving increased purchasing power to the poor, effect the social positioning of the underclass.

Charles Correa’s housing scheme in New Bombay, India and Oscar Newman’s housing Yonkers, USA, targeted towards social integration of section-8 housing, are worthy examples of social integration. Can such land development be executed on large scales to counter social polarization resulting from globalization? Are land controls in USA, like zoning, inclusionary housing, fair-share and affordable housing plans, all successful at social integration or do they help create further segregated neighborhoods which is conducive to the propagation of ‘not in my backyard’ concept, facilitating discrimination by the higher socio-economic groups against the under-class. The inevitable circuitous result of this is the concentration of the economically deprived that further drives them into a state of social deprivation.
Social integration, housing design, land use conrols, mixed housing
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