Children of Heaven
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The movie Children of Heaven presents a strong comparison between the poor and the rich housing emphasizing the disparities between them. This striking difference is shown through the illustration of planning challenges that the slums face and the overwhelming planning benefits in the rich neighborhood. The movie presents several scenes that take the audience on a journey full of dangers associated with poor planning and benefits of good planning. Macionis and Parrillo (170) illustrate that the city influences humanity survival through “physical setting and social environments” platforms. The director of this film follows the guideline of Thomson (38) who states that in order for a movie to remain relevant for a long period of time, it must touch on an issue that relate to renewable history such as fashion. For example, new housing designs are made from templates of old housing design. Often, many architectural designs are based on ancient designs, with a little flavor. Thus, its reasonable to argue that the movie Children of Heaven is made “delicious” thanks to the use and portrayal of renewable housing plans and illustration of how they impact human life. This is made possible by relying on two obvious and persistent problems over the mankind history of city planning; physical setting between poor and rich neighborhoods and the consequences of the urban environment (urbanization) in a city (noise and air pollution).
Planning issues in the movie
As Macionis and Parrillo (170) observed the city being presented through the physical and social environment, the viewer’s acquaintance with the city starts from the introductory incident of the movie. The introductory part shows a boy named Ali, running down the street and knocking over vegetable boxes while chasing a man, who had picked his sister’s shoes. As expected and illustrated by Macionis and Parrillo (2004, pg 194) city sectors with poor planning structures are largely occupied by people with multiple number of problems in regard to income and expenses. The low income of the slum dwellers does not allow them to have ample time to plan and structure the areas of their residence. This results in poor streets, dreaded roads, shabby corners and overall depressing atmosphere of the areas. It is a huge gap between the physical setting of poor and rich neighborhoods that Ali and his father experiences. In the rich neighborhoods, there is plenty of space to play without disturbing and annoying the surrounding people. This is because the rich areas are planned by qualified people who spend ample time to place everything to the right place. This refers to streets, playgrounds, fishponds gardens, swimming pools and recreation centers. Such structures, even being desired by the poor people, cannot find a place to exist in the slums. This is because the slums lack sufficient water and the environment to support structures such as gardens and swimming pools. Even having the right resources to support them, the structures would often create the obstacles to the rest of the people. This is because, as illustrated in the film, the house corridors in the slum act as the parking space, market centers and, amazingly, as streets. Among many other disparities between the slums and the rich environs, the issue of insecurity cannot be ignored. The slum area is represented as an area where the structures and clumsiness would easily allow to commit crimes. The congestive nature of the slums does not allow for easier tracking of criminals and criminal activities. Unlike the slums, the rich areas within the city are equipped with such structures as streetlights, enclosed compounds with gates and identifiable paths connecting the housings.
Poor city planning often leads to health problems, security and housing problems associated with consequences of urbanization such as noise, water and air pollution. There is a scene in the movie where Ali buys cast off potatoes and poor clothing in a clumsy and congested neighborhood. The aforementioned are the elements that are easy to associate with the consequences of urbanization. The consequences of urbanization are not necessarily tied to planning of houses and infrastructure. It goes as far as family planning. For example, in the case of Ali’s father, feeding and providing essential basic needs of his kids is a problem. Emergence of health problems for such a family would result in fatal consequences in regard to the poor provision of health care. At the same time, it is also evident that the environment which Ali and family live in can comfortably support various diseases in respect to water and air pollution in the slums. Despite the challenges of pollution, the slum dwellers do not seem to separate from each other; on the contrary, they prefer to stick together. The reason behind such a unity amid the obvious dangers is the influence of and social environments mentality. For strange but working reasons, the mentality helps in structuring and making the slum area seem the ideal place for the city dwellers. Unlike in the slum areas, the rich urban areas have large spaces that are not utilized. The utilization is not a problem for the dwellers; but the presence of the large open spaces is an indication of richness. The challenge of overcoming the difficulties in the city slums area often creates strong bonding between the people living in the slums. This statement is illustrated by the cooperation between Ali and his sister and Ali and his father. This is derived from the traditional feeling of mutual help, described by Macionis and Parrillo (196) as a constant invention of “ways to at least meet their basic needs and to soften the blow of their poverty.” Therefore, the need to live in the slums is highly motivated by the perception and adaptation skills of people in the city. This means that the emergence of slums is a result of the people perception which dictates that they cannot afford the high cost houses and hence groups into areas that they can build affordable housing. The same applies to the reason behind the clustered environment in the slums. Unlike the rich areas, where people are independent and want to keep distance, the slums dwellers value living in proximity. Therefore, the issue of congestion in the slums cannot be solved once and for good. This is because the congestion issue is driven by the need of the people to stick together and the lack of space to build.
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The city life is quite an intriguing thing to observe, especially from the perspective of coexistence of slums and rich urban zones. The slum residents solve the problems of the rich urban areas thus, creating a smooth co-existence relationship. Planning of the urban zones is dependent on people capabilities and desire to actively assume the roles of creating the residences. The capabilities and desires, however, are reliant on two obvious and persistent problems in the human history of city planning; the difference in physical setting between poor and rich and mental capability to deal with emerging problems. Therefore, any city architect should consider that city residents of different classes have different needs. For example, the rich settlement areas will require more space per person while the poor resident require congested areas in order to overcome day to day challenges.
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