Policies & ethic, practices and programs (New York Case)




The issue of conflicts of interest is the most important ethical issues facing planners. Although the planners are dealing with all members of society, but it's very difficult to balance between conflicting interests. Dealing with the public interest become a very complicated especially when we talk about planning projects which is generating a good profit, but in turn have negative effects on some social groups such as poor and low income. I've watched the documentary that explains the stages of development of New York City, the factors affecting the economy of the city, and the ethics of dealing with slums.


There are several policies applied in New York City after World War II, the main policies are dealing with housing, renewal of slums, and re-planning the transportation infrastructure in a way serving the car at the expense of public transportation or walking. The policies were biased to the ideas to serve the economic side at the expense of the humanitarian aspect. The idea of renewing the slums led to the removal of many neighborhoods and the displacement of many residents. This policy did not take into account the low-income people who do not have the ability to afford housing. In addition, the policy did not provide alternatives of economic housing. On the other hand, I find that the policy of expansion in the establishment of free ways to increase traffic congestion. This policy contributed to dominance of the car as a major transport instead of other transportation alternatives such as buses, trains, and walking. I believe that this policy is a clear example of bias for a social group (high income) rather than people who are not capable, like the poor, elderly, and disabled. It is a clear example of the lack of ethics in planning and urban development.

Robert Moses and his approach:

Post-World War II and the return of veterans and immigrants from Europe, New York City has been developed based on ideas of Robert Moses. Moses included ideas on the redevelopment of the transportation structure in the city, solving housing issues, urban renewal and slum clearance

Based on documentary video, I think that the approach of Moses, which depends on exploiting new technologies (at that era), such as cars, techniques for building skyscrapers, bridges, and roads .Moses believed that the use of modern technology gives us a successful plan for the city. In my opinion, the policy of Moses was not ethical for several reasons:

Unbalanced policy: Moses focused on the social and economic class at the expense of other categories, for example, he was interested in the car as a major transport expense of other means of transportation such as buses, bikes, walking. In addition, this policy led to the displacement of the poor of the city because they could not get cheap housing

1.      The absence of social and environmental dimension: Moses policies were very much interested in the economic aspect and development. Demolished slums were applied to attract investment in the city and serving people with high incomes. This policy did not serve the poor and low income. The implementation of this policy led to the displacement of many residents because they were not able to enter the housing market. I believe that the successful plan which sets a balanced plan for all types of society without discrimination

Dominance of the economy on the planning decisions: Moses policy focus on economic factors in order to create planning decisions. An interesting question here is whether the planner represents a society or an economy or a power of governments?


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