PESTLE: Social

Summary/Presentation

  • The Greater Metropolitan Area of Birmingham is the cultural/social centre of Alabama.
  • The poorest people live and the least amount of growth occurs in the city proper.
  • Birmingham’s socio-economic history (status as a post-industrial, largely “burned-out” city, high racial tensions) has hindered its development (nearly 75% of the downtown population is black).
  • Poverty is concentrated downtown and wealth is concentrated in the surrounding suburbs (Hoover, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, etc); the gap in wealth grows every year.
  • Smart growth is a set of developmental ideas that attempt to stagnate and constrict urban sprawl/waste and promote sustainability (compact neighbourhoods, transportation reform, pedestrian-friendly city planning, etc).
  • Smart growth is a possible way to revitalise both the culture and economy of downtown Birmingham.
  • The most vulnerable people to increased levels of air pollution include pregnant women, children, the elderly and people suffering from respiratory illnesses.
  • Birmingham’s poorest citizens (usually living in downtown) are most vulnerable to decreased levels of economic activity due to the increasingly service-oriented economy and the Alabama tax system.
  • Birmingham’s current growth is unsustainable.
  • Smart growth is a viable long-term way to revive community and culture.
  • Current air quality problems shall result in long-term, expensive health care expenditures.

Submitted by Ella and Usama

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