In the last few years, the number of cities and main towns has increased tremendously. Several factors ranging from political, social, and cultural have played a pivotal role in transforming peoples’ way of life and emergence of urban life. Advancement in science and technology coupled with high economic development remains the main factor that has changed the face of the world today. The introduction of industrial revolution in 20th century marked the beginning of a new era characterized with mechanization, urbanization, and modernization (Eric 78). Most of the cities and main towns emerged during this era and have continued to develop and expand in their operations and population. New York remains one of the oldest and highly developed cities in the world with a population of eight million people. The city offers a lucrative destination for local and foreign investors wishing to invest in manufacturing, processing and service related ventures. Most of the leading and largest multinational corporations are suited in New York City because of its improved infrastructure, ready market, and favorable climate. It is anticipated that the population of New York City will increase by 25% by the 2050 unless government enacts policies aimed at controlling the population (Gandy 365).
New York City did not appear the way it appears today during the 20th century because it had not undergone via numerous reforms. Before 20th century, residents of New York City lived a distinctive lifestyle from the one they live today. During this period, the city housed thousands of immigrants and slaves from the neighboring countries such as France, Germany, and Italy to name, but a few. The population of people living in urban areas tripled during this period because of immigration (History of Modern City and the Rise of Municipal Politics 5). This move exerted pressure on social amenities such as hospitals, social halls, housing units and recreation facilities. Urbanization had not attained high levels in the city because World Trade Centre and Home Insurance Building were some of the tall building installed with elevators. Most of the city buildings contained two and three floors; an idea that depicted underdevelopment. The city experienced high crime rate and insecurity because the level of unemployment remained relatively high and prevailed because of high number of immigrants. Outbreak of diseases remained high because of poor drainage system, lack of sewage discharge channels and poor sanitation; aspects attributed to poor city planning.
Democrat politicians ruled New York City while Republicans formed the larger part of the Federal government. During mid-20th century, the New York political pattern changed significantly as Democratic leaders advocated for reforms aimed at transforming the city. Democrats through progressivism advocated for enactment of labor laws, administration reforms, and elimination of corrupt city leaders and extension of relief programs across the city. This aspect has formed the cornerstone for development of New York City and its endeavors in city planning.
Reforms remain an imperative aspect in New York City development. It plays a pivotal role in city development through planning and policy formulation. Before 20th century, the city had not attained high echelons in urban planning as experienced today. Investors establishing industries and premises in the city should comply with urban planning policies as envisioned in the reforms. During the period reformers advocated for change because local government failed to offer quality services to the people. Reformers established new local government models aimed at operating effectively (Urban Reform Movement and Responsible Municipal Government 30). These local government models form most of the modern models used worldwide.
The municipal government headed by Robert Moses remains the most effective government during the mid-20th century. Although Robert never contested for political position, he is accredited as the “master builder” of New York City. Following his immerses contribution in reforms and city planning; Robert became one of the polarizing figures devoted in transforming the face of the city and the entire nation. His municipal government advocated for use of highway rather than public means of transport; an idea that helped in establishment of underground railways and invention of Long Island suburban. This move reduced pollution and traffic jams within the city. His government also contributed in establishment of New York largest parkway, electrical caters and subways to ease transport and communication (Urban Reform Movement and Responsible Municipal Government 5). This move has enabled the city attain high maintenance and building standards that have shaped the appearance of New York City until today.
Establishment of Brooklyn Battery Bridge in the New York City remains one of the least reforms advocated by the municipal government. This project faced numerous criticisms from the federal government and members of the public because it interfered with environmental conservation programs. Creation of the bridge had an impact of East River because it had to change the course of the river upstream in case of a bomb attack.
Council-manager government system plays an integral role in implementing the reforms and municipal politics in United State. Most cities in United States adapt Council-manager system. This system of government remains effective because it has adequate resources required in drafting and implementing the reforms. It faces limited interference from the federal and state governments thus enabling the former execute its duties and roles diligently and cost-effectively. Additionally, council-manager system government understands challenges faced by ordinary people, certain jurisdiction areas, and municipal governments effectively. Therefore, reforms formulated by the government aim at addressing these challenges and managing daily operation of the city.
Eric, Homberge. The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of 400 Years of New York City's History. NewYork: Owl Books, 2005. Print.
Gandy, Matthew. "Rethinking Urban Metabolism; Water, Space and Modern City." City 8.3 (2004): 365. Print
History of Modern City and the Rise of Municipal Politics Pdf
Urban Reform Movement and Responsible Municipal Government Pdf