Health Problem in Urban Community, Essay Example for Everyone

Published: 2022-06-03
Health Problem in Urban Community, Essay Example for Everyone
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Community health
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 964 words
9 min read

Segregation is the action of setting something or someone apart from others. Therefore, residential segregation is the physical separation of several groups of people into different neighborhoods. In the United States, residential segregation is associated with racial discrimination that tends to group people based on their races. Today, the explicit segregation is unlawful in America, but the housing patterns are still an indication of significant and persistent isolation of income groups and races. In fact, some of the major American metropolitan regions are a fragment of the evidence that the cities are organized in certain racial patterns (Williams & Sternthal, 2012). For instance, Chicago has the north and the south split while River Anacostia separates Washington into two regions. The disparities are not only a product of past slavery in America but they are also part of the prolonged effects of racial segregation policies implemented by the federal government (Giles-Corti 2017). However, some communities have continued to be victimized mainly in the health and education sectors. Therefore, this paper will discuss suburbanization, urban renewal, and plan shrinkage policies and the manner in which they are related to the current educational and racial segregation that has subsequently led to health care disparities.

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Suburbanization Policy

Until the 1930s, the United States federal government did not actively engage in the housing industry. As a result, discriminatory practices and policies dominated the housing sectors obliging the government to address racial segregation that had persisted for years. In 1934, the suburbanization policy was enacted to stimulate improved housing conditions and standards, and to provide a mutual mortgage insurance system for other purposes (Giles-Corti 2017). The law led to the creation of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). However, although the FHA and FSLIC supported a great boom in suburbanization and housing, they also adopted prevailing patterns of racial discrimination (Giles-Corti 2017). As a result, the minority groups were oppressed and did not benefit from the policy contrary to the government intentions.

The racial division separated the suburbs into different racial segments. For example, the African Americans were subjected to impoverished living conditions in their area of residence. The segregation consequences had profound effects on their health and education. The life expectancies in different parts of the United States is an indication of health disparities with African Americans having a lower lifespan than other races in the nation. The difference is due to poor health services, low level of education, poor living condition and accessibility to drugs in some regions mainly occupied by the minority groups.

Urban Renewal Act

Urban renewal is a program of land development mostly in the cities where there is urban decay. The program was started in 1949 to address the plight of lower-income families living in the urban centres. Urban Renewal Act was a landmark meant to sweep expansion of federal roles in the construction of public housing and mortgage insurance (Giles-Corti 2017). Under the provision of the act, FHA was strengthened, and the federal expenditure extended to construction of substantial housing units. The program increased the number of decent homes, which were to be accessible to all people regardless of their races.

However, there is still an acute shortage of housing mostly to middle and lower-income groups in major metropolitan areas. Due to poor planning and persistent discrimination against minority groups African Americans residence were acquired in major cities in order to facilitate construction of modern housing, which was later occupied by other races and elite class. In fact, after the construction African Americans were barred from accessing the shopping areas and surrounding residential communities as a way of attracting white customers. Consequently, the minority groups could not access essential social facilities and lived in congested regions. Some areas could also suffer from disease outbreaks killing a considerable number of people.

Plan Shrinkage

The urban centres and related processes have been undergoing a transformation for years to address modern cities challenges. For instance, in 1950, several policies were enacted against urban infrastructure developments (Giles-Corti 2017). The shrinkage plan was one of the programs. It aimed at razing slums to create land for private individual redevelopment. The eradication of slums and engaging private developers in the housing commission continued to oppress low-income residents. In fact, the federal funds that promoted public housing projects were also terminated, which was against the minority groups who were the main beneficiaries of the program.

The plan shrinkage obliged residents to leave the urban centre for suburbs. However, the division between suburban and urban residences perpetuated dramatic racial segregation. For instance, the African Americans had to reside in isolated neighborhoods as the suburbs houses were expensive and they could not afford them (Myrdal, 2017). Most developments were initiated in the suburbs leaving minority groups isolated and with degrading social amenities. As a result, the education and healthcare sector continued to degrade leaving discriminated groups vulnerable to the unfavorable social setting.


In conclusion, due to segregation, the minority groups in America continue to live in poverty and without adequate access to standard education and healthcare facilities. The housing policies have been escalating the intense environmental setting with minority neighborhood suffering most as compared to other segments. Therefore, the government policies have been limiting available resources needed by the minority to have equal living standards with the majority. Consequently, most of the African Americans remain segregated even in the modern society.


Giles-Corti, B., Vernez-Moudon, A., Reis, R., Turrell, G., Dannenberg, A. L., Badland, H., & Owen, N. (2016). City planning and population health: a global challenge. The Lancet, 388(10062), 2912-2924.

Myrdal, G. (2017). An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, Volume 1. Routledge.

Williams, D. R., & Sternthal, M. (2012). Understanding racial-ethnic disparities in health: sociological contributions. Journal of health and social behavior, 51(1_suppl), S15-S27.

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