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Essay Paper on Advantages and Disadvantages of the ‘Mixed Communities’

by Jeffrey Barlow

Regarding disadvantages of the deprived areas, research demonstrations since the 1960s has revealed that mostly low down income regions, as well as a lot of but not all social housing domains had some different problems. Those problems were considered to be disadvantages affecting communities’ development. Problems tackled issues of isolation from work market openings leading to higher rates of unemployment and more distortion in the family structures; as young women entered maternity at early ages and outside established partnerships (Wilson, 1987).  There are more links among families and neighborhood networks but limited opportunities to labor market. Problems also are concerning the unbalance between demand and supply, the high demands of services resulting in very poor service quality due to low incomes and very short supply. Those regions too are very poor in public services and shopping areas as there are no sufficient resources to sustain them. Depopulation and facilities decline due to sharp problems may lead to poor property and assets values. House costs and values in nearby areas may be influenced leading to discourage investments in urban regions.

From almost 2005, there was a move to advance the mix as a vital and essential building block of a renewal approach, rather than an elective or optional element in certain kinds of areas. This shift was related to several developments, one of which is the Cabinet Office appraisal of neighborhood regeneration policies (1998-2005) which recommended additional advancement for the problem. Also related to the strategy approach to disadvantaged areas that required a quick response for the issue argued that reversing the cycle of decline in those areas would require ‘stimulating local economies, civilizing housing and the neighborhood environment, balancing communities and enhancing public services and facilities in deprived areas’. The shift also was due to increasing research awareness in the US and UK and Europe with the evidence that excessive poverty in concentrated same areas may cause extra harmful effects on individuals and communities. As well as supportive illustrations from the US HOPE VI strategy for community housing in the US, that showed help with a considerable destruction and transfer. Expected household growth was also another cause to the shift with the new erection explosion, urban renewal, growing land costs and enlarged potential to investment renovation and the substitution of social housing by sale or shifting property to private investors.

Researchers proposed benefits and advantages of mixed communities to include more resources that may help to create more availability to support services and facilities with more cash and funds. As assumed with mixed communities more cultural and social resources may assist to form better conditions and reputation. It is supposed also to reduce rates of crimes and anti-social activities. Another view is concerned with better interactions between community groups to enhance access to better advantaged and aspired peers and social networks.  They are as well supposed to improve facilities, services and opportunities including major progress in environmental and educational services along with wider openings for the labor market (Silverman et al., 2006). Mixed Communities are more related to developmental issues. And researchers’ unbroken visions to develop such communities may finally lead to direct enhancement in life opportunities for existing inhabitants. It may in addition allow residents’ change with wealthier ones, who may support the whole community with better positive impacts resulting in a rise in property values and better life standards for others. Overall, allowing a constructive “area effect” to prop up and turn to be a self sustainable community (Silverman et al., 2006).

Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program which was carried out in five cities: “Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York” to check certain experiments among different groups.  On choosing three experimental groups, the first one obtained a financial support only spendable if they shifted to a comparatively affluent neighborhood with an expert to advise them to find suitable home. Second group got a housing coupon spendable in any location without advising. Third group, the control group received no help but remained living where they were. Goering and Feins (2003), was quite positive. Some of the achievements accounted at the end of three years that group 1 were further affluent, with lesser crime rates and improved education. There were variations among cities and some groups had earlier outcomes than others but two years later there were signs of progress in children’s manners, health and educational attainment, evaluated to the control group, while alike improvements were detected in Group 2. There were also dissimilarities between girls and boys, with more attitude improvements in boys. There were no differences in financial outcomes. Incomes and employment indicators for those moving to well off communities showed no improvement compared to other groups. But the program was welcomed as sustaining the fundamental link between living in a disadvantaged neighborhood and negative impacts on an individual’s life chances. Groundwork research on these groups has verified that statistically beneficial changes have aroused in families’ lives within two to four years of their participation in the trial (Goering et al., 2002).

Concerning longer-term follow-up the earlier studies had revealed no enhancement in financial indicators for the group 1. Longer-term follow-up verified the same result but the researchers came across other indicators related to educational attainment, health and happiness and also attitude. They focused on ages from 15 to 25 this age group which has the highest rate of behavioral issues. They didn’t find any major differences among the groups 1and 2 that moved their neighborhoods when compared to the third one that didn’t move. For the age group some indicators showed improvement and some were not as good as, but regardless of the large sample, none of these variations were statistically important.

In summary, evidence proposes that initiating mixed residence and mixed income communities only are doubtful to raise life opportunities of present disadvantaged neighborhoods, at least in the short-term. Mix may not create any direct involvement, even if it is linked to a development in quality of living and there is no plain evidence that the ‘mixed communities approach’ as identified presents more conventional neighborhood regeneration projects.

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