Social Change and Social Order In Rural and Urban Society

Social Change and Social Order In Rural and Urban Society

Question

Social Order and Change in village, town and city

Answer
1. Problems of space : Most of the important issues and problems of social order in towns and cities are related to the question of space. High population density places a great premium in space and creates very complex problems of logistics. It is the primary task of the urban social order to ensure the spatial viability of the city. This means the organisation and management of things like : housing and residential patterns; mass transit systems for transporting a large number of workers to and form work : arranging for the coexistence of residential, public and industrial land-use zones; and finally all the public health, sanitation, policing, public safety and monitoring needs of urban governance.

2. Homelessness : The question of urban housing brings with it a whole host of problems. Shortage of housing for the poor leads to homelessness and the phenomenon of ‘street people’—those who live and survive on the streets and footpaths, under bridges and flyovers abandoned buildings and other empty spaces. It is also the leading cause for the emergence of slums.

3. Problems of Slums : Though official definition vary, a slum is a congested, overcrowded neighbourhood with no proper civic facilities Csanitaion, water supply, electricity and so on) and homes made of all kinds of building materials ranging from plastic sheets and cardboard to multi-storeyed concrete structures. Because of the absence of‘settled’ property rights of the kind seen elsewhere, slums are the natural breeding ground for ‘dadas’ (दादा या बहुबली) and strongmen who impose their authority on the people who live there. Control over slum territory becomes the natural stepping stone to other kinds of extra-illegal activities, including criminal and real estate-related gangs.

4. Socio-cultural identities : Residential areas in cities all over the world are almost always regreted by class, and after also by race, ethnicity, religion and other such variables.

5. Conflicts and Riots : Tensions between such identities both cause these segregation patterns and are also a consequence. For example, in India, communal tension between religious communities, most commonly Hindus and Muslims, results in the conversion of mixed neighbourhoods into single-community ones. This in turn gives a specific spatial patterns to communal violence whenever it erupts, which again furthers the ‘ghettoisation’ process.

6. Example : This has happened in many cities in India, most recently in Gujrat following the riots of 2002. The worldwide phenomenon of gated communities is also found in Indian cities. This refers to the creation of affluent neighbourhoods that are separated from their surroundings by walls and gates, with controlled entry and exit. Most such communities also have their own parallel civic facilities, such as water and electricity supply, policing and security.

7. Urban transport system : The urban transport system is directly and severaly affected by the location of residential areas relative to industrial and commerical workplace. If these are far apart, as is often the case, an elaborate mass transit system must be created and maintained. Communing becomes a way of life and an ever present source of possible disruption.

8. Impact of Transportation : The transport system has a direct impact on the ‘quality of life’ of working people in the city. Reliance on road transport and specially on private rather than public modes (i.e., cars rather than buses) creates problems of traffic congestion and vehicular pollution.

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