Final Thoughts and Reflections

With the summer drawing to a close, I have realized that the data analysis will continue for some time into the semester. The SOMOS team will hopefully help give me some insight into the best way to approach the campaign against dengue in the community as I present more of my findings to them.

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A Brief Summary on My Low-Income Housing Research

Summarizing the weeks I spent on my research on low-income and public housing is not an easy task. To start, I should say it was nothing like I expected. Almost nothing worked out the way I anticipated. The professors I planned on partnering with were unavailable. The book I planned on reading got seriously back ordered. The information I thought would be available through databases and research was largely non-existent. I think that I could have been much more successful had I not been focused on the location of the Williamsburg area. This area isn’t very populated, and I think that most of the statistics developed within the town are focused on the College and on the tourism industry, rather than on poverty and the town’s status on housing. I think there is still an incredible amount for me to learn. If anything though, I have discovered how troublesome the housing crisis here is. I have learned of the difficult balance the town is forced to uphold. Between the College and the Colonial Williamsburg tourism industry, Williamsburg must maintain this image of perfection and a sense of utopia in order to keep money coming in. Without this, the service jobs these industries provide would be lost. Unfortunately it is the employees of the service industry that have so much trouble finding affordable housing. So if a public housing or low-income housing project was built in plain-view, it could hurt the tourism industry, and ultimately its inhabitants. Therefore the housing crisis here is not one that can easily be solved, but I think it would be beneficial if more of the aiding organizations and the city came together to help the problem. They would be much more effective if they worked together. I feel very lucky to have been granted the opportunity to do my research, and it has been such a great learning experience.

Summing up my Summer Research/Experience

Summer is over.  I am back at school with a full plate of work, classes, homework, obligations, and inter-library loans…. And so how best to summarize my summer in the field?

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Official “Summer Summary”

Since I want to eventually enter the field of urban planning, I chose my research project in an effort to intertwine city planning with the concepts of anthropology.  Thus I decided to study how an abstract concept like human culture affects the concrete, bureaucratic practice of zoning.  I chose the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to be my Petri dish city of examination and my questions pertained to the past, present, and future.  Specifically, how did Bethlehem develop its zoning layout through time, how do residents perceive, affect, or interact with the current zoning, and how would residents change the zoning of the city?

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