Income inequalities are a universal concern that divides all the resources according to affordability. Access to opportunities, education, consumption of public spaces and services, means of transit, technology, and employment are systems of widening the gap between rich and poor. This cavity between rich and poor is flaring in developing countries and emerging economies. Cities are socially produced and active planning interventions play a strategic role in creating varying degrees of urban inclusion and exclusion.
The role of architecture and urban design while planning a city is crucial as it acts as the social engineer to bridge the gap between income inequalities of the city. City engineering can play a significant role in this issue and enable the smooth functioning of society.
Challenges due to Urban Sprawl
Urban sprawl has always been associated with human development and progress, but urban settings can lead to significant inequalities in a city. Cities are the hub of technological advancement and economic growth for their nation along with serving the poverty breeding ground, inequality, environmental hazards, overcrowding, and health issues. Comprehensive thinking, architecture, and design while planning a city layout is essential to contribute to community development and improved quality of life.
Integrated City Widening
Local government policies can play an important role in making cities more economically inclusive. A joint cooperative initiative by public officials and informal business owners such as street vendors highlights the requirements of small businesses and alters the traditional master plan in favour of a more collaborative approach. This involves inter-department coordination and participatory planning for street trading.
The dignity of street vendors in a society can be increased by increasing their economic growth and giving them efficient and sufficient space to expand their business and reach the large masses as buyers.
The introduction of streets acts as a driver of citywide slum elevation and urban revolution. Proposing streets for slum improvement intervention is a natural conduit for retrofitting services and facilitating transportation. They are vital for the future consolidation of settlement. Streets attract shops and services and produce social identification of a settlement that enables orderly development and a sense of security for the neighborhood, especially women and children. Street design is a stepping stone towards citizenship and the realization of tenure rights.
Improved Urban Mobility and Connectivity
Mobility systems must work for every economic sector of society. Usually, the low-income group is isolated from good transportation means, which drifts them away from using goods and services and acts as a barrier to their employment opportunities. Thus, the architecture of transit-oriented development is necessary to be efficiently designed according to the needs and requirements of all the user groups. The city does not need transportation services specially designed for an economic group, but mass transit systems that are affordable and convenient to all.
Optimize density and promote Mixed-Use Development
Mixed-use development is necessary for upgrading the state of all the economic groups. It involves communities living close to each other and in close proximity to public transportation. This system of development can be used to incorporate mixed housing on a minor scale and enrich the traditional character of the settlement. It is a mechanism to revitalize struggling areas and economic development. It can give the poor an opportunity for affordable housing and the rich to cherish the identity of the community. As the commercial and industrial areas are in close vicinity, ample employment opportunities are generated for the rich and the poor.
Land Readjustment for Urban Layouts
Cities demand an increased number of visible public spaces. Public spaces are used by every economic growth for socializing, improved health, and citizen movement. However, the public spaces should be designed under the strict supervision of CCTVs to keep them safe and secured. Public space near economically weaker sections can also prove to be a center for social interaction and cultural expression. These spaces can be drivers for economic development and wealth creation. The architecture of public spaces can be pivotal for urban policies to act as a catalyst for slum upgrading.
Sustainable city development is the process through which climate challenges can be reduced. Integrated public spaces are designed to take along people, activities, and public spaces together. In case of natural disasters, community help should be easily available for the people to protect and help each other. This will also enhance the sense of belonging in the neighborhood. Sustainable urban transport should also be a part of the architectural plans of city design.
Using bicycles with dedicated bicycle routes instead of private vehicles will reduce the carbon footprint and be pocket-friendly for the economically weaker section of the society to rent a bicycle and drive to their desired destination.
The growing gap between rich and poor can be majorly filled with government policies but a small part can be played by the architecture and design of the city. Affordable housing and transportation can be the start of the reduction of the widening gap. Public education is vital to increase skilled labor. The split between rich and poor requires to be filled closely for the better functioning of the nation.