Cityscapes, Suburban Sprawl - Boston and Chicago
video program features two case studies on cities in
the United States: Boston: Ethnic Mosaic
and Chicago: Farming on the Edge.
Located in North America, the United States and Canada
have the most urbanized and mobile populations in the
world. Two of the most important results of that mobility
are the abandonment of inner-city neighborhoods by the
middle class and the increasing loss of prime agricultural
land to suburban development. The land-use pattern that
is emerging is one that looks something like a doughnut.
This has been created by the middle class fleeing an
increasingly poor and empty downtown for life and work
in a ring of suburbs and edge cities.
first case study, Boston: Ethnic Mosaic,
visits the hometown of some of the nation's finest institutions
of higher education and centers for research and development.
Boston has a vibrant central business district, but
it is also experiencing middle class flight. The city's
ethnic diversity is due in part to the attraction of
cheap housing for newly arriving immigrants. Inner-city
Boston has become, however, a place where tax dollars
are simply not adequate to deal with the problems caused
by poverty. Inner-city residents and the city must turn
to the federal government for assistance in solving
their social and economic problems.
case study focuses on the spatial distribution of some
of Boston's ethnic and racial groups and their competition
for inclusion in a proposed empowerment zone. The zone
is to include the most impoverished areas in Boston,
yet those areas don't necessarily follow established
neighborhood boundaries. A geographer is asked to use
her professional skills and input from citizens to determine
what boundary should be proposed in the grant application.
The stakes are high: a first-place, $100 million federal
grant could go a long way in providing job training,
offering social services, and attracting new businesses
to Boston's struggling core.
material in this program includes new video footage
and an update on Boston's empowerment zone program,
new funding received by the city, and the results of
that funding in various inner-city neighborhoods.
second case study, Chicago: Farming on the Edge,
leaves the downtown core to take a look at the increasing
threat that middle class flight presents to farmland
at the urban fringe. No longer are suburban communities
dependent upon jobs in the downtown core. The availability
of cars and the highway infrastructure has enabled a
new kind of city to spring up around Chicago. These
auto-dependent edge cities provide jobs and services
to the residents of the surrounding suburbia, allowing
them to avoid downtown altogether if they choose. Furthermore,
these new job centers, already many miles from the old
downtown core, enable suburbia to penetrate more deeply
into the countryside.
to this case study include new video footage and interviews
profiling suburban growth on Chicago's fringe, new interviews
with Dr. Richard Green as he visits areas undergoing
land-use change, and new maps showing the extent of
Information System (GIS)
Business District (CBD)
to Suburban Migration