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Issues affecting urban planning in “City of God” film Essay

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Updated: Dec 23rd, 2018

City of God is a Hollywood movie that was authored by Paulo Lins and directed by Merelles Fernando (Bronson 593). This movie was adopted in Paulo Lins’s novel and it captures the period from 1960s to 1980s (Bronson 593). The film is set in Brazil and the plot unfolds in the gang slums of Rio de Janeiro. The author of the movie draws the reader’s attention to some of the factors that affect urban planning. In this case, Rio de Janeiro has been used as an example to illustrate some of the challenges experienced in cities across the globe.

From a careful analysis of literature, the film has addressed several issues related to urban planning. One of the key themes portrayed in the scene is about the numerous crimes committed in urban areas (Doctorow 5). Some of these crimes result to misgovernment of urban centers reading to acute suffering among the metropolitan dwellers. This paper aims to identify these issues and examine how they affect urban planning as addressed in the film.

A good example of the prevailing issues in the film includes war against drug trafficking and drug abuse among urban dwellers (Bronson 593). It is important to note that one of the major aims of planning in towns is to ensure that high quality life is sustained and criminal cases are reduced. Nevertheless, the film portrays that people leaving in slums have the potential to venture into unlegislated acts such as establishing drug empires and the deal eventually becomes very competitive.

That notwithstanding, drug abuse has become the chief cause of all the crimes, a factor that lowers the quality of life in urban areas. Research has revealed that drugs not only threaten the health of users but also their lives. Most of them engage in unmanageable behavior and has to face the law. In addition to this, drug abuse leads to stress which graduates to depression expecially on instances where the users have no financial capacity to purchase more.

From the scene, there is a clear indicator that drugs are at high demand in urban areas where users have means of dodging from police investigations. In fact, drug dealing in urban has become a common phenomenon that is passed over from one generation to the other. Evidence to support this claim can be derived from the scene where Benny intends to take over the drug business from Carrots (Bronson 594).

Another issue that has drawn my attention and is a common phenomenon affecting urban planning is the rise of insecurity. This is evident from the film where a gang of people chase a chicken. As they run they encounter a man who is purely convinced that the gang wants to kills him (Bronson 594).

This is a clear indicator that in Brazil urban and more particularly the slums are prone to insecurity where people are gang raided on daily basis. Insecurity interferes with urban development in one way or another because people fear settling in sparsely populated areas for fear that it will be easier for robbers to invade them. In this case, they overcrowd in certain areas to seek for security and this eventually turns to be a problem because, robbers take advantage and use such areas as hiding grounds (Doctorow 37).

Therefore, it becomes easier for thugs to perpetuate their unruly missions while it becomes hard for police to investigate crime scenes.
Robbery with violence is another common voice that affects urban planning. From the film, it is evident that a group of impoverished thieves who are well known as “tender Trio” are used to looting and robbing businesses.

In connection to this, Idleness has emerged as a challenge to urban planning where majority of the citizens crowds in slums and along the streets doing nothing. Eventually, they end up becoming victims of committing numerous forms of crimes. For example, in the film, the author has revealed that in most cases, the “Tender Trio” cooperates with the citizen in committing robbery (Bronson 594).

From a careful analysis of the movie, it is evident that idle citizens are used as spies against business owners and to some extent; they are lured into theft in order to protect the thugs or gain something little in return. This makes it hard for urban planners to focus on relevant and vital matters such as maintaining the wellbeing of the people such as good health, reduction of pollution and provision of social amenities. Instead, much energy and resources are used to curb urban crimes.

Another vice that is evident in the scene is that of immature deaths that results due to illegitimate acquisition of fire arms by robbers. You find that the “Tender Trio’ have got guns which they use to scare the public and to ensure that they are safe during the operation (Doctorow 95).

In most cases, they rob business men and shoot them while at times they can decide to spare them. It is evident that when robbers have crude weapons, even the police get scared to abort their operation. Consequently, the public are left at the mercy of the robbers. At some point, the police decided to fire bullets to the robbers who end up losing lives prematurely. In this case, the role of policemen in keeping order in urban is often interfered with and this affects planning negatively.

Urban planning is also concerned with fostering positive culture and moral values among the inhabitants. However, due to overpopulation and illiteracy resulting from high rates of school dropout cases it becomes difficult to inculcate positive social values in urban centers. Cultural diversity affects the way people make lifestyle choices.

For instance, the film portrays that even children approaching the age of ten years drop out of school and adopt the dreadful urban lifestyle. In fact, they move as gangs and eventually, they end up venturing into drugs. They also acquire crude weapons which they use to terrorize the urban dwellers (Doctorow 115).

From my own point of view, people who dwell in urban areas for a long time break away from their cultural ties, a factor that is likely to reduce their moral values. Evidence to support this assumption can be derived from the fact that in the film, people in urban are very inhuman. Lack of common social ties makes the robbers to terrorize and kill people at the rise of any slight offence.

People in the film deny each other justice and freedom to live and own resources. In line with this, violation of human rights becomes evident when Lil’Ze asks the little boys to choose whether to shoot their feet or hands (Bronson 594). In this case, urban life sometimes appear more confused And planners do not know exactly where to start implementing intended changes

To recap it all, urban planning is an activity geared towards enhancing economic development and improving the wellbeing of urban inhabitants. Nevertheless, urban life is characterized by some form of lawlessness due to inevitable challenges. These challenges affect appropriate planning resulting to misgovernment and decline of social wellbeing of the population within the locality. Some of the challenges are portrayed in the film”City of god’.

These include drug trafficking, robbery with violence and murder cases among other vices. However, it is reasonable to note that Rio de Janeiro has been used in the film to represent other cities across the world since some of the identified challenges are common across the globe. Therefore, this call for a combined effort to see that each issues is addressed fully in order to smoothen the progress of urban planning.

Works Cited

Bronson, Daniel . “City of God.” World Literature Today 74.3 (2000): 593-4.

Doctorow, Edgar. City of God. New York: Random House. 2000. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Issues affecting urban planning in “City of God” film'. 23 December.

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