Tutor profile: Jonathan P.
Subject: Urban and Regional Planning
What is code enforcement, and how does it relate to urban planning?
In the US, modern-day municipal code enforcement developed during the post-war period, a time of rapid population increases and city development. Newly formed communities and surging new construction necessitated the formation of government departments charged with enforcing code compliance. Today, essentially every city, town, village, and unincorporated area has a department assigned to enforce its codes. While urban planners are often the staff members who write the zoning laws, code enforcement officers are responsible for implementing these laws through inspection and enforcement. Increasingly, code enforcement officers are expected to solve a variety of violations reported to government. This can range from unpermitted housing, to businesses operating in the wrong zones, to entire industrial operations without proper zoning permits. Enforcement methods vary by department. Code enforcement officers might issue warnings and violation notices, levy fines and inspection fees, assess liens on properties, seek 3rd party receiverships and, in some cases, file criminal complaints in local court for violations classified as misdemeanors. In more recent times, however, these longstanding punitive approaches have been balanced out by a growing trend called compassionate code enforcement. This emerging approach seeks to remedy code violations through problem-solving, with empathy at the core of compliance actions. In this sense, compassionate code enforcement draws from the community-building priorities found in urban planning. See: Wegmann, J. and J.P. Bell (2016). "The Invisibility of Code Enforcement in Planning Praxis: The case of Informal Housing in Southern California," Focus: Vol. 13: Iss. 1.
Subject: Library and Information Science
Can you describe and compare the organizational settings where librarians and information professionals practice today?
Today’s information professionals practice in a variety of organizational settings. Public libraries are found in every community in the US. Metropolitan areas typically have large public library systems with a central library and geographically dispersed branches. In smaller communities, public library systems often operate with a single facility, sometimes with a few branches. Cities and unincorporated areas can also form special library districts, which are autonomous public library systems created to address specific community needs. Academic libraries serve the research needs of students, faculty, and scholars at higher education institutions. School libraries provide information services and educational support for students and educators in the K-12 system. Special libraries are found in public, private, and nonprofit organizations. Special libraries offer collections, archives, programs, and services that support the organization’s mission. Archives are information environments that also employ librarians and information professionals. The purpose of an archive is to preserve the historical records, documents, and ephemera typically relating to a person, organization, or place. In addition to these more familiar institutional settings, there are also librarians who provide high quality information services through freelance and contract work, oftentimes online. Awareness of these different environments encourages versatility in librarians. Indeed, the 21st century librarian can provide services in any environment where information is managed. While recognizing the multitude of information environments out there today, it is important to acknowledge the notable changes to all these work environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many librarians and information professionals are providing information services in a work-from-home setting. Others might be classified as front-line workers and are delivering "curbside" services while libraries are closed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Subject: Urban Studies
According to Edward W. Soja, there are six discourses on the postmetropolitan city. Can you briefly explain one of the discourses?
Edward W. Soja wrote extensively about the transformation of cities under late capitalism. Whereas New York and Chicago demonstrated older models of metropolitan development from a bygone era, Los Angeles offered the prime example of how a "postmetropolitan" city evolved in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In his book, Postmetropolis, Soja outlines six (6) forms of urban transformation, which he called discourses, taking shape in LA. The six discourses are: 1) Postfordist Industrial Metropolis, 2) Cosmopolis, 3) Exopolis, 4) Fractal City, 5) Carceral Archipelago, and 6) Simcities. Here's a summary of one discourse: Postfordist Industrial Metropolis - The 1st discourse explains the form of urban transformation after the time of strong industrial production in the US. Fordism refers to the systemitized manufacturing lines associated with Henry Ford's automobile production. The "post" in Postfordist signals a time after this form of production. Industrial production has gone to other countries where labor is less expensive, resulting in extensive loss of unionized manufacturing jobs and city's core industries. Cities are undergoing extensive restructuring with deindustrialization of old industries and reindustrialization of new ones, which are more and more likely white collar jobs driven by technology advances. Postfordist industries are more flexible in that it can up-and-move to other cities quickly. LA was an early example of these trends. The era of deindustrialization saw automobile parts manufacturing move to Latin American nations such as Mexico, while defense and aircraft industries relocated to places such as Texas or Washington, DC. This decline gutted the jobs base in working-class communities within South Central LA and Southeast LA. Meanwhile, the Postfordist LA has reindustrialized with new high tech and social media corporations which produce content, or information, or services -- not Fordist like assembled "products." There are greater barriers to entry into these fields especially for people without advanced training and degrees. The Postfordist Industrial Metropolis can exacerbate the inequities that that long existed in cities. Source: Edward W. Soja, Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions. Blackwell. 2000.
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