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Pick one urban problem or issue discussed in this course that is commonly faced in many urban areas, for example: prejudice and discrimination, housing, education, public transportation, other social and public services, unemployment, homelessness, crime, urban sprawl, or another of your choosing (be sure to get your instructor’s approval for your chosen focus). Describe how that problem or issue manifests in two different urban areas of your choosing (domestic or international). Compare their similarities and contrast their differences. Explain what ecological, demographic, institutional, social, cultural, and other factors influence the issue.
Use original scholarly research and other reliable data sources to explain and illustrate the phenomenon and its trends over time. One good place to start is the US Federal statistics gateway site: www.fedstats.gov (Links to an external site.); the UN, www.un.org (Links to an external site.), and the World Bank, www.worldbank.org (Links to an external site.), are two additional good sources for international data; the largest clearinghouse for publicly available academic and organizational data is the ICPSR at the University of Michigan, www.icpsr.umich.edu (Links to an external site.); and the University of Chicago’s NORC is one of the largest academic opinion research centers in the country, norc.uchicago.edu (Links to an external site.). Consider multiple sources of data, when possible, and compare and contrast the actual data with public perception of the issue. Pay particular attention to the trends in the data and use sociological concepts and findings from the course and your additional literature review to analyze your issue. Over time, what aspects of this issue in these urban areas has changed or remained the same? Why?
Discuss and evaluate the personal and social consequences of this issue for various populations within each urban area. Examine and evaluate more than one plan or strategy for addressing your problem. If available, evaluate the relative success of these plans, compare and contrast them, and argue whether a particular approach might be more successful in one urban area than another. Justify and support your conclusions. Explain how specific social scientific theories and research helps you to make these decisions. How might different constituencies within each urban area have interests that work with or against one another? Why?
Now that you have a clearer and more defensible understanding of the evidence and the mechanisms at work, make a decision: is this truly a problem or not? If so, for whom, and why? In either case, what have you learned from your efforts regarding best policies and practices related to the issue? What would be the social and individual consequences if your policy suggestions were implemented? Finally, what trend do you think we are likely to see in this issue over the next two decades in both of your locations? Defend and justify your conclusions. What public policies and individual decisions would help guide this future trend in the most generally useful and beneficial direction? Defend and justify your conclusion

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