Framing an Urban Issue

GEO 204 INTRODUCTION TO URBAN STUDIES Paper #1 Assignment Framing an Urban Issue In this course, we’ve explored examples of how scholars approach cities from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives and viewpoints. The academic disciplines we’ve explore the most include: geography, planning, sociology, history, political science and economics. These are all considered social science disciplines. We’ve explored some of the issues that face communities, including homelessness, access to transit, and affordable housing. These are challenges for all communities, but they are especially challenging for inner-city communities that have faced decades of disinvestment. For this assignment, you will explore the LA Riots of 1992 through the lenses of two academic disciplines, as well as through an interdisciplinary framework, and compare and contrast the different approaches. First, you will need to view the Frontline documentary “LA is Burning: Five Reports from a Divided City.” The documentary presents some background, firsthand accounts, and multiple perspectives on the LA Riots of 1992. You can access the video in the Week Eight Module – Inner City Decay. Select two academic disciplines related to the course (geography, urban planning, history, sociology, political science and/or economics) and explain how each might separately explains the phenomenon, including: 1) What were the underlying conditions that led to the LA Riots? 2) How does the specific disciplinary perspective define the problem(s) (the root cause) that the riots revealed? 3) What solutions might be identified by the specific discipline? You will then identify an alternative interdisciplinary perspective that integrates the two individual academic disciplines. Examples of interdisciplinary approaches include: historical geography, political economy, socio-economics, historical sociology, economic geography, planning history, social planning, political sociology, etc. Identify how the interdisciplinary perspective explain the phenomenon, including: 1) What were the conditions that led to the LA Riots (from an interdisciplinary perspective)? 2) How does the interdisciplinary perspective define the problem(s) that the riots revealed? 3) What solutions are identified by the interdisciplinary framework? In contrasting the disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, Identify the advantages, disadvantages and special insights provided by the interdisciplinary perspective. You do not have to use outside sources, but if you do, you should appropriately reference them. BONUS (up to 2 points): In what ways are the events from 1992 similar to the 2020 summer protests and riots over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor (and others)? In what ways are they different? The paper should be approximately 400 words (that’s about two pages, double-spaced).

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