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Organizing Sociological Research of a Metropolitan City

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Students will identify and select a target city and conduct an investigation. City of Choice is Houston Texas

Students in this research assignment will identify both the strengths and the weakness of the targeted city. The focus of this paper is to conduct research on the needs, resources, and problems of a targeted city and produce a paper that communicates the possible solutions to the problems. Student must identify existing (interior) and/or exterior resources that maintain the functions of the city or can help address the targeted city's issues and problems.

The following four sections outlined are intended to help students with the format and outline of the city research paper. Thus, your paper will have these four major headings in bold.
1.Identification of Targeted City: In this section you will identify a city in the U.S. or in any part of the world. Once the targeted city has been identified, you will begin to assess the city from the perspective of strengths, weaknesses, resources and problems. This is a very important section of the research paper because it sets the parameters for the entire paper. Examples of the types of questions one might consider answering in this section include: 1.What targeted city will be the focus of the research?
2.What type of population lives in this city and what are the characteristics of the city inhabitants?
3.What the geographic boundaries of the city?
4.What physical and social issues and problems exist for the targeted city?
5.What resources exist in this city?
6.Are there traditions, attitudes and values based on stereotypes about the targeted city?
7.What is the history of the targeted city?
8.What is the political and economic framework?

2.Problem Identification and Needs Assessment: In this section you are concerned with identifying major social problems and unmet needs confronting the targeted city. These needs and problems should be examined in terms of both individual and collective needs of the city inhabitants. 1.What are the most pressing problems affecting the targeted city?
2.Are there subgroups of people who are experiencing more severe problems than others?
3.How can the targeted city's needs best be conceptualized so that a determination can be made about the extent to which they are being met?
4.Are the city's problems created locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally?
5.How much control does the city and its citizens have over its own destiny?
6.To what extent are the problems of the city inter-related with other cities or suburbs.
7.Are there needs in the city which require something rather than governmental intervention? What role might a sociologist play in responding to those problems?

3.Resource Identification: In this section you will identify resources available in the community to deal with the problems you identified in the preceding section. Resources should be defined in the broadest possible terms rather than focusing only on money. Focus on what is presently functioning, what is working and what are the strengths. The possibilities may be limitless. 1.What resources are available to deal with the problems identified above?
2.What strengths does the city have for managing and coping with the problems? How might those strengths be used to address the problems?
3.What formal organizations deliver services and goods to the city's inhabitants?
4.What informal units assist in the functioning of the city?
5.Who are the main leaders of this city? Are they formal or informal? What role might they play in solving the problems in the city?

4.Sociological Interventions and Strategies: Identifying problems and resources is an important part of understanding a city. However, I am interested in how you are going to apply the knowledge and information provided to you throughout assigned readings, threaded questions and learning units and how you apply it to propose sociological interventions and possible strategies for dealing with one or more problems confronting the targeted city. Be as specific as possible refer to the assigned readings. 1. What problem(s) will you focus on and what strategies/tactics might you offer to address the problem(s) you have identified?
2.Are there both long-term and short-term solutions to the problem(s)?
3.Name or identify a possible intervention. Does the city presently have an intervention plan? Does you intervention or city intervention include an individual, a social policy, an organization, a governmental agency, or community values and attitudes?
4.What organizations would be your major allies/opponents of your proposed intervention? What are their strengths and weaknesses? That is, how strong would be your support and how powerful would your opposition? How much resistance and how much support would you encounter? What will be the source of that support or that resistance?
5.Is the problem you or the city identified related to other problems in other towns, cities and suburbs? To what extent will your or city proposed strategy address more than one problem.

5 page paper

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Solution Preview

1. Identification of Targeted City

City: Houston, Texas (4th largest city in the United States of America and 5th largest metropolitan area in the United States inclusive of The Woodlands and Sugarland at approximately 6 million people)

Demographics: Source: United States Census Bureau
Population: 2.196 million (2013) and estimated to be growing substantially (e.g. it gained more than 34,000 people between 2011 and 2012). The projected population for 2020 is 2.52 million. 15 percent of the population is between the ages of 25 and 34 years.
Population Density (2013): 3,623 people per square mile (Source: World Population Review 2016)

Racial Demographics of the Population:
(Source: 2010 Census)
-White: 51% (26% non-Hispanic)
-Black or African American: 24%
-Asian: 6%
-Pacific Islander: 0.1%
-Other race: 15.2% (0.2% non-Hispanic)
-Two or more races: 3.3%
-Hispanic of any race: 44%

Geographic Boundaries: 599 square miles although its general city area exceeds 617 square miles according to some sources

Employment (Source: Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2016)
-The largest job gains from January 2015 to January 2016 were in leisure and hospitality
-"The local industry's job gains were concentrated in food services and drinking places," which added 18,600 jobs during the same period
-"In the Houston area, total government employment increased 1.8 percent" greater than the national gain
-The area's largest supersector is made up of trade, transportation, and utilities which added 4,100 jobs in the same period
-Other supersectors that had employment gains were in financial activities and in other services
-Manufacturing had the greatest job loss in Houston
-Mining and logging, and professional and business services (architectural, engineering, and related services) also had significant job losses in the last year

Strengths:
(World Population Review 2016)
-Very multicultural city due to its academic institutions, industry, and as a port city (multiculturalism could be a weakness if the city's acceptance of racial and cultural diversity is weak)
-Residents speak more than 90 languages (this could also be a weakness if it prevents those residents access to resources because of a language barrier)
-Its growth is due to the availability of jobs as a result of the increase in different job sectors in the city, and access to education and housing.

Weaknesses:
-Estimated 400,000 illegal aliens living in the area. They could be putting a strain on the social service system.
-Breakdown of racial demographics. "Asian" could be broken down into another category called "South Asian" which would include those countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (which I have observed are growing populations everywhere).

Resources:
-The petroleum industry that began in 1901. From the late 20th century, the state has been attempting to diversify its economy so that it is not completely reliant on the petroleum industry.

Problems: (from a number of publications)
-The explosive growth is negatively affecting transportation in the city, housing costs, and the public health ...

Solution Summary

This solution will assist the student in organizing research for a sociology research paper on a metropolitan city.

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