Critically acclaimed HBO TV series "The Wire" chronicles the gritty street environment of the underclass in the post industrial era of Baltimore. While this show has done an excellent job in detailing all the complexities of the drug trade and how it intertwines with local neighborhoods, law enforcement and elected government, "The Wire" has also provided a great social commentary on how a city can decay.
David Simon, the show creator explains "The Wire" as:
"...really about the American city, and about how we live together. It's about how institutions have an effect on individuals, and how... whether you're a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge [or] lawyer, you are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution you've committed to."This quote really sums up the over-arching premise of the show. The institutions of the city, be it private industry, government, or illegal street trade puts individuals in situations where they may have to compromise their morality or principals for the overall good for their specific institution, no matter how much reverberating damage their actions may cause.
For any city planner working in a major metropalitan region, we understand that the nuts and bolts of modern city planning will not be a cure in hleping the plight of a city's underclass. While there are structural causes that help enable the continuation of the cycle of poverty in cities, there are also widespread societal problems that City Planning as a profession could never solve by itself.
So the question being posed is, What can City Planners do to help address societal concerns in their profession?
It would be great to hear from all city planners on this. And if youre not a city planner then leave a comment on what you think city planners should do.