Good Example Of Essay On Census Tract
This study will focus on analyzing the census tract of one of Vancouver’s communities, Kerrisdale. Kerrisdale will be explored from several points of view: demographics, economics, education, prevalent social groups, and residential conditions will be examined in this paper in order to identify whether the neighborhood has any significant social problems. To understand the community’s needs and opportunities offered to its residents, the essay will explore the statistical data derived from the census tract found on Vancouver’s official city website. The major purpose of this paper is application of the material learned from the course’s readings to actually existing community in Vancouver and analysis of the data derived from census tract. The main intention is that this study will help the students in developing analytical skills and improve their ability to see the whole picture relying on basic statistical data.
In each region on the Earth that is inhabited by people, there are certain communities that might be similar or different from others. Each region of the country has its own community as well. The same we can see in the cities and villages, in every district and neighborhood. One of the main tasks of sociology is to study such communities and investigate what makes them similar or different from one another. Census tracts represent the statistical tool for such purpose and give sociologists a full picture of the community that is being studied. Through the analysis of census tracts, sociologists are able to see what type of residents does the community have, which of these types are prevalent and which represent the minority. Furthermore, census tracts give us the notion of the community’s needs and its social problems that require a closer look. In this paper, I would like to analyze one of such census tracts to explore the community of Kerrisdale neighborhood in Vancouver. I will also try to identify if there is a community problem in this census tract neighborhood.
Today, most of the communities are formed in the process of urbanization and gentrification. The new stage in urban planning was a response to the ugliness of the industrial city. In the late 19th century, the plans of new “perfect” cities were developed. These plans included absolutely different patterns of city structure. The urban planning strategies of that period implied that “the cities must be divided into industrial, commercial, public service and residential zones, detached from each other with recreation zones of parklands and alleys decorated with trees” (Wirth, 1938). Main roads carried the major part of the traffic while residential zones featured winding streets pleasant for long walks. The cities of Riverside and Glendale in the USA are two vivid 19th century examples of this type of urban planning. Frederick Law Olmsted was a noted practitioner of this style and his design of Central Park in NYC is considered a classic example of it. The new strategies of urban planning had certain impact on the distribution of communities and contributed largely to the process of gentrification of the neighborhoods.
Arising from urban housing reform campaigns, “Urban Renewal” was largely federally financed program that altered the physical landscapes of many American cities between the mid 1950s and the early 1970s. It aimed to “provide cities with funds and legal power to deal with slums, sell the land to private developers at reduced cost, relocate slum inhabitants to appropriate and safe housing, stimulate large-scale private construction of new housing, restore decaying urban downtowns by eliminating economically disadvantageous districts, and add new property tax revenues to city budgets” (Wellman, 1979). Proponents of urban renewal also claimed that it would slow the departure of middle and upper income residents from densely populated big city centers to suburbs.
In order to protect open space, smart growth concept implies redevelopment of vacant lots, parklands, and residential areas into areas of higher population concentration. Therefore, smart growth creates motives for the development of open space in and beside cities. Proponents of urbanism point to Portland as a model city for controlling urban sprawl. In this city, the amount of parkland per thousand residents has decreased dramatically. As smart growth targets high population density, it means that citizens lose open space within the city. In other words, residents have to sacrifice local parks and gardens as well as private yards.
Smart growth has many drawbacks that are often ignored by its proponents. It implies “land-use restriction, increased taxes, decreased availability of open space near population centers, and increased air pollution” (Frey, 1995). For example, the light rail, suggested by urbanism activists, costs millions of dollars per mile and appears to be inefficient as it does not have the capacity of a single freeway lane. Smart growth is expensive growth. If enacted, smart growth proposals will increase federal and state control of local land use issues taking power away from local communities.
On the other hand, positive implications of effective urban planning are “increased quality of life, profitable projects, and opportunities for further development and growth” (Small, 2010). Thoughtful investigation and analysis of the city’s problems helps to develop and adopt an adequate plan that would improve urban structure. Such approach has proved to be more efficient than urban planning based on ambitions and unjustified budget performance.
All these issues have a significant impact on the communities that inhabit certain neighborhoods of the cities. For instance, Kerrisdale neighborhood is populated mostly with wealthy families, skilled professionals, students, and elderly residents who live in the rental blocks in the north central part of the community. According to Klinenberg (2001), in case of elderly residents, there is a problem of isolation and dying alone because of their tendency to live alone and separate from the rest of the society. This trend can be a significant community problem because “when someone dies alone and at home the death is a powerful symbol of social abandonment and failure” (Klinenberg, 2001). The area of Kerrisdale neighborhood is a well-established suburban community with a thriving commercial centre along 41st Avenue. It has a great transportation system and well-planned residential blocks that are populated with around 14 615 people. Kerrisdale has a powerful commercial center with many popular clothing shops and food stores. There are also many coffee and tea houses, restaurants, and spa salons that create the fundament of Kerrisdale’s business community.
“The community has more women than men – 53% and 47% accordingly. Almost one-quarter of residents are young adults under the age of 20. Kerrisdale has significantly fewer young adults aged 20 to 34 (16%) as compared to the city and the region. Furthermore, at 29%, there are a higher proportion of residents 55 and older” (Statistics Canada, 2009). Kerrisdale is a culturally diverse neighborhood - the top five ethnic groups that live here include Chinese, English, Scottish, Irish, and Canadian residents. “Population density per sq km: 2863 as compared with 5039 for Vancouver and 736 for the region” (Statistics Canada, 2009).
Kerrisdale has a lot of elementary and secondary schools and one private school for girls, Crofton House School. The residents of the neighborhood are highly educated – around 53% have university degrees. Most of them are employed primarily in business, finance and administrative occupations. In Kerrisdale, one can observe a great decision of zoning and planning – there are many beautiful parks and recreation zones that “increase the attractiveness of the neighborhood and have an impact on the cost of real estate” (Silver, 2012). For this reason, the average income of Kerrisdale’s residents is quite high and their spending power is much greater correspondingly than in other neighborhoods of Vancouver.
Most of the houses in Kerrisdale have a type of a single-family residence. However, Kerrisdale has a fair number of apartments/condominiums (37%) as well. Kerrisdale apartments are predominantly low-rise buildings. Many are occupied by retired seniors who enjoy their convenient location near the commercial strip between Larch and Maple Streets.
There are many public organizations in Kerrisdale that are engaged in the development of diverse social groups, provide access to public services, and actively participate in social life of the community. Numerous LGBTQ organizations provide the protection of rights of the LGBTQ community in Vancouver in general and Kerrisdale in particular. “The diversity of ethnic groups in the neighborhood suggests the diversity of religious and cultural communities as well” (Brown-Saracino, 2011). Kerrisdale has all the conditions for the development of such communities and treats every population group with respect giving them right to develop and grow.
Overall, Kerrisdale neighborhood has great conditions for living and great perspectives for growth. Gentrification of this area has led to increase in the cost of real estate and income of the population due to the development of business and growth of the commercial centre of the community. Demographics of Kerrisdale indicate that the area is perfect for families with high income, students, and immigrants who can feel quite comfortable in the neighborhood loyal to any ethnic and social group. With the development of business, Kerrisdale has become one of the most attractive neighborhoods of Vancouver. Great planning and zoning also contribute to the attractiveness of the community, making it an ideal place for growing children and starting business. Kerrisdale sets the high standards for living and provides easy access to all the public services to its residents. Moreover, various “public organizations facilitate the development of different communities in the neighborhood” indicating about the high level of civic consciousness and a well-developed civil society (Fischer, 1973). Considering all the discussed factors, it can be suggested that Kerrisdale has all the conditions for further growth and flourishing.
Brown-Saracino, J. (January 01, 2011). From the Lesbian Ghetto to Ambient Community: The Perceived Costs and Benefits of Integration for Community. Social Problems, 58, 3, 361-388.
Fischer, C. S. (1973). Toward a subcultural theory of urbanism. Berkeley: Institute of Urban & Regional Development, University of California.
Frey, T. (1995). Trends in land use in the United States. J. L. Simon (Ed.). The State of Humanity. Oxford: Blackwell.
Klinenberg, E. (January 01, 2001). Dying alone: The social production of urban isolation.Ethnography, 2, 4, 501-531.
Silver, D. (January 01, 2012). The American scenescape: amenities, scenes and the qualities of local life. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 5, 1, 97-114.
Small, M. L. (2010). Villa Victoria. University of Chicago Press.
Statistics Canada. (2009). Profile of census tracts in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Vancouver, 2006 Census. Ottawa: Statistics Canada = Statistique Canada.
Wellman, B. (March 01, 1979). The Community Question: The Intimate Networks of East Yorkers. American Journal of Sociology, 84, 5.
Wirth, L. (1938). Urbanism as a way of life. Chicago.
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