This paper gives an assessment of Brickell community, distinguishes the most vulnerable group and gives possible initiatives that could be considered in order to improve conditions for the vulnerable group. Brickell is the southern part of Miami city situated south of the Miami River. Brickel is the center of the business activity in Florida, it is a kind of “city in the city”, with its own downtown and suburbs (Robbins, 2014). Brickell is a dense residential and commercial neighborhood, with many high-rise office buildings for business, public services and administration, luxury condominiums, hotels and apartment towers. The central part of the area is neat and clean, has excellent transportation network and pedestrian amenities. Brickell is attractive to business and temporary residence.
Brickell’s neighborhood is multinational, politically, religious and ethnically diverse community that has rich economy and middle-class standard of living. The ethnical diversity of the area includes Whites, Blacks, Colored, Caucasians, Latinos, as well as other ethnical groups. The territory is equipped with excellent leisure amenities. Brickell has a number of adequately secured and safe social joints where people have a chance to meet, communicate, play and have a rest. The elder prefer quire bars, casinos, and passive games, such as chess or scrabble. In leisure time, women mostly stay at homes watching TV and doing housekeeping jobs. Some of them jog in the early morning or late at night. Children and youth prefer spending time playing football, basketball and baseball, as well as meeting with friends. Brickell offers excellent leisure facilities for families with small children including various playgrounds, animation and graphic shops, and specially designated areas for family recreation. The assessment of residential amenities and buildings fall in two categories. The central neighborhoods of Brickell are characterized by uniform patterns of buildings made from concentrate, steel and glass. The buildings are neat and clean. Most residential buildings have high fences, closed gates and security alarms. Each building has a parking lot, laundry area, swimming pool and a playground for children. Nevertheless, central Brickell includes all types of estate ranging from luxury buildings to low-class houses. The second category is a suburb area of Brickell. Here, the residences are smaller, less accurate, and lack controlled planning. Some houses have broken windows and fade paint. The yards are smaller and have fewer amenities. The studies of Amy Fontinelle (n.d.) suggest that a cost of living in Miami in 2013 was 7,2% higher than the national average. At the same time, high costs of living offer higher standards. Brickel is a business hub of Florida. Thus, the neighborhood offers various kinds of shops, trading centers, financial centers and other business offices. Brickell belongs to Miami-Dade County where unemployment rate in 2014 was around 7%. In contrast, the average unemployment rate in the USA in 2014 was recorded at 6.15%. This means that Brickell is characterized by the average rate of unemployment. Miami offers excellent healthcare services, with a variety of public and private hospitals, medical centers and specialized pharmacies. Some hospitals have offices in major strategic points and trading centers of Brickell. However, there are no hospitals that specialize in mental disorders.
One of the most important features of any community is the psychological portrait of its members. During our visit of Brickell, we met instances of homeless people living under the bridges. In addition, we saw very few youths who take marijuana, as well as drunken people. These instances were noticed in suburban area mainly of low-income dwellers. From the psychological perspective, the neighborhoods of Brickell could be divided into two parts: central area, with high level of safety, more expensive estate and developed infrastructure, and suburban area, with less capital, poorer homes and less developed infrastructure. Psychologically, the central part of Brickell creates positive and successful impression whereas the suburban area leaves the impression of a less prosperous part. According to Perkins (2011), community psychology deals with the relationships between the community problems (health, mental, cultural, and social) and individual well-being. A distinguishing characteristic of a community is a reversible interdependence of an individual as a member of a community and a community as a social organism. From the position of the community psychology, the part of Brickell’s population (those identified as homeless) needs adequate help in the form of social, medical, cultural, psychological and revitalizing assistance.
In addition to psychological considerations, it is important to assess the physical environment of the community. According to the healthypeople.gov (Healthy People, n.d.), the health of community members depends on many physical environment factors including natural environment (climate, grass and trees availability, water and soil quality), built environment (roads, transportation, sidewalks, buildings, bike paths), housing quality and design, aesthetic features (lightning, recreation zones), transportation, workplaces, schools and recreation zones. Brickell is situated in the tropical monsoon climate zone; it has hot summers and short warm winters, with average temperatures about 20 C degrees. Brickell has the developed road network, with bypasses, underpasses and overpasses. There are bicycle paths and pedestrian zones. Most places are within pedestrian availability. Electric train is the most popular mode of transportation in Brickell due to its speed and convenience. The central part of the city is built with clear order and design whereas the suburbs lack the clear order. In general, Brickell’s physical environment has favorable conditions for healthy living.
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The sociocultural analysis of Brickell’s community illustrates the differences among groups of people relating to their belonging to certain social group and culture. According to the HCPRO website (2007), sociocultural assessment of the person should include the information about the ethnicity group, region and the place of birth, the data regarding the occupation and work environment, the recreational possibilities and preferences, taste preferences, nutrition and diet, use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances. According to Windshield survey results, Brickell’s population is diverse in cultural and social aspects. This diversity is well supported by various types of religious buildings (Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, etc.), leisure possibilities (leisure and spa centers, swimming pools, shopping centers, concert halls, cinemas), and schools. The fact that Brickell is a business hub of the region attracts multinational businessmen and their families. Most part of the population belongs to the middle social class. Thus, the general sociocultural considerations regarding Brickell’s community lead to a conclusion that ethnical, religious, cultural and social diversity excludes social bias and most people leave in comfort.
The behavioral features of the Brickell’s society include high concern of healthy lifestyle, much attention to time-value and business activity. Most citizens pay special attention to education and work conditions. Many prefer social joints for vocational time and go to casinos, bars and clubs.
The analysis of the psychological, sociocultural and behavioral traits of Brickell community allows detecting homeless people as the most vulnerable group. Homeless people may be treated as the sick part of the community that needs special mechanism for treatment and dealing with. According to the data of the Villages for the Homeless (n.d.), the statistical characteristics for the homeless people say that 26% of homeless have acute health problems, such as tuberculosis. This is a worrying sign as tuberculosis is easily spread from sick to healthy and definitely needs ambulatory treatment. At the same time, most homeless do not have insurance and cannot pay the health care costs. Thus, the homeless are the hazard for the healthy part of the society. In addition, 46% of the homeless have chronic health problems, such as diabetes, and around 40% of them have mental disorders. Particular data suggests that the homeless are dysfunctional in all senses and cannot overcome the associated problems without external help.
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The suggestion for the situation is building the pedestrian village for the homeless. This is an idea of social policy analyst and urban designer Michael E. Arth (Villages for the Homeless, n.d.). The plan includes building the special campus for people who do not have permanent residence. This campus may be the place of consolidated actions for the local agencies that fight with the homelessness. The campus should be located separately from the city but have the transport supply. Additionally, it would have its own medical center for mental disorders, tuberculosis dispensary, and the rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addicts. The residences in the campus should vary from the 8-9 bed barracks for the offenders to mini-flats for responsible, clean-living families. The dwellers of the village will be located according to their efforts for improvement. For instance, crime offenders will be separated from the law-abiding persons who lost their residences because of some circumstances. Apart from that, the homeless would have a chance to contribute their labor and efforts to the common wealth. Thus, a part of the project’s expenses would be self-covered by the revenues of the members.
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The advantages of building special village for the homeless will surpass the associated costs. The main advantage is that homeless people will have possibility to see how the labor and positive efforts find relevant reward. Those who work better will have more benefits (use of swimming pool and other recreational services, better living conditions). In addition, all the services for the homeless will be localized in one place. Thus, the funding that is spread among various organizations will be allocated more efficiently. The specialized personnel will assist in restoring identity for those people who lost it. In such a way, well-off members of the Brickell community will feel safer as the sick homeless people will not interfere with their children. Additionally, the taxpayers will not pay for the medical care of the homeless unemployed people.
To conclude, it is important to mention that Brickell is a part of Miami. This neighborhood is a business district. The community is characterized by cultural, religious, ethnic and social diversity. Most population can be referred to the middle-class. However, there is a vulnerable part of the community – homeless people. The problems associated with homeless people in community may be solved by developing a special off-city campus for the homeless. The advantages of such option include the consolidation of services for the homeless at one place, more efficient use of resources and funds, hierarchical societal system that will empower social identity, and assistance in overcoming the problems of homeless people.