The film City of God (2003) co-directed by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund explores the impact of urban planning and urban environment on the social and cultural behaviors of urban residents. The movie portrays urban planning as a factor in the allocation of resources to different urban neighborhoods, and how this allocation promotes the development of two social classes- the poor and the rich. Secondly, the film attributes urban planning to social decadence as the marginalization of poor neighborhoods through government policies that limit resource allocation creates the perfect social environment for crime, moral decadence, and socialization of a whole generation into criminal activities.
City of God is set in the sprawling slums of Rio de Janeiro, in a poor urban neighborhood built in the 1960s to host the city’s poor inhabitants. Lins Paulo, the author of the book of the same title on which the movie is based, describes a grim picture of the slum in its early years. He writes, “the new residents brought garbage, bins, mongrel dogs”… (Paulo 6), depicting the poverty of those who moved into the slum. The favela (the slum) is located far away from central Rio, in what can be interpreted as an attempt to create a as comfortable as possible distance between the rich who frequent and live with the main city, and the poor residents who present a security threat to businesses and Rio’s upper class society. This design of urban planning in which authorities go to great lengths to separate the haves from the haves not indicate a conscious and deliberate effort by governments to protect the rich at the expense of the poor. This may be partly explained by the fact...
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...rce allocation to poor neighborhoods. The ending scene drives this point home powerfully when the Runts ask each other if anyone of them can write so they can make the hit list. Without education, how does the government expect such youths to earn a living, and how much can they be justifiably blamed for turning out the way they did? In the City of God, crime is the beast. If you run away, it will catch up with you, if you stay, it will eat you.
In conclusion, City of God is a portrayal of the impact of poor urban planning on the social and behavior culture of marginalized urban dwellers. It demonstrates that poor urban planning promotes the growth of urban slums and the creation of a social environment that encourages lawlessness and decadent behaviors. It links urban planning to the unequal allocation of resources, and its consequences such as poverty and crimes.
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