This past week in the Levy reading, one of the topics that greatly caught my attention, was the social planning issues. Perhaps one of the most intriguing things about them, is that there is no precise definition of what constitutes social planning, since planning in general always has some social elements to it – therefore any planning is social planning. But the point that the author makes out about social planning is how some environments and cities may be designed and planned slightly with a bias towards or against certain groups of people. This is an unfair practice that unfortunately throughout American history has always lingered around, but in more recent decades there have been more efforts to eliminate them. The first thing that Levy mentions when it comes to social issues, is housing. Pointing out how housing circumstances are always better off for those who have a higher income and can afford it. He really touches base on this topic when he writes about Private Communities and how they basically are really nice communities where more affluent people can live and have nicer things together. Immediately after this, Levy goes into the polar opposite – the homelessness.
The social planning that Levy talks about starts with the race riots that occurred in several cities in the 1960s. This was a time period when a large number of poorer people (and often African American) had their neighborhoods demolished in an attempt to clear slums and provide for more affordable housing. Unfortunately by the time construction for new developments was ready, between the government throwing away money for the Vietnam War and corrupt city governments poorly allocating their finances, there had not been left enough money to build sufficient amounts of affordable housing – and thus several racial-based violent outbreaks took place.
Other interesting types of social planning that Levy mentions are: environmental policy, the social side of economic development, gender issues, and feminism planning. A lot of interesting things can be said about these (and others) types of people to consider when planning. These types of planning are all great because they have the general well-being of all types of people and obtaining ultimate social equality for all as their main goals, which is something of praiseworthy. However, from a brutally honest and somewhat skeptical point of view, maybe instead of diverting all of one’s attention to one specific groups of people such as feminists or a certain race, it would be more beneficial to just fight for humanism – this way people of all different backgrounds are cooperatively working together to help each other out, instead of just themselves.