Fusion

FYSOP Fusion (fi-sawp f-yoo-shzun) – the intersectionality of the 11 different issue areas of FYSOP which allows us to work toward sustainable solutions to multifaceted social justice issues within our global community.

What’s really awesome about Urban Engagement and FYSOP is the amount of Fusion that you’ll get to see during the week. You’ll realize just how much the 11 issue areas coincide with each other. Here’s a little taste of what you’ll get to see for yourself:

Animals

Although estimates vary, a 2004 study found that in urban areas, there are hundreds of cats per square mile, which is more than nature can support. Since many city and county animal control agencies are mandated only to deal with dogs, the feral cat population has created problems for decades. Though it is considered controversial to preserve a species that kills hundreds of millions of birds and more than a billion small mammals every year, the Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) is generally considered a humane way to control the feral cat population.

Children 

As of the 2010 census, roughly 17% of Boston’s residents are under 18. Unfortunately, Boston’s public schools do not rank well – poverty rates are high, while test scores and graduation rates are low compared to state averages. Education is a very important factor when it comes to youths making healthy, responsible decisions as they enter adulthood. Without a decent education, many find themselves unable to live a self-sustained life.

Disabilities

Urban youth with disabilities are less likely to graduate from high school, less likely to enroll in postsecondary education, and less likely to be employed in the years immediately after high school. In addition, the percentage of people living with disabilities has increased in the last 30 years, making urban planning that is accessible to everyone especially critical.

Elders

A 2003 survey found that people age 65 and older make up 27% of urban areas. Ensuring that elderly residents have access to affordable housing and transportation options, health and social services, and medical providers and specialists is critical, especially as the number of elders has increased in recent years and is expected to keep increasing as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

Environment

Due to increased population and industrialization, urban areas have greater issues with air pollution, inadequate waste management, and pollution of rivers, lakes and coastal areas. Additionally, ecological disruption and resource depletion have proven to have far-reaching impacts that extend beyond a city’s borders. Respecting nature and engaging in ecologically-friendly urban planning can ensure a healthy environment for generations to come. Boston, in particular, has an increasing number of organizations that are doing their part to make great food easily available to its dwellers.

Gender Focus

The number of same-sex couples per capita tends to be highest in urban areas or suburbs of large, politically liberal cities. Because of this, and the fact that many high-profile LGBTQ organizations are located in more liberal, urban areas, some individuals may not have access to support and/or connection to an LGBTQ community due to their geographical location. Extending outreach efforts, even in areas that are politically conservative and/or have a higher incidence of homophobic attitudes, can be crucial.

Homelessness & Housing

Homelessness rates are twice as high in urban areas as they are in rural areas, and in 2007, 77 percent of the U.S. homeless population was counted in places considered completely urban. Because of this, trends in homelessness nationally largely reflect trends in urban homelessness. Paying attention to urban culture and resources available for the homeless population is an important aspect of urban life.

Human Rights

Despite busing and other progressive measure in the last few decades, Boston remains one of the most segregated cities in the country, ranking 11th for the most extreme residential segregation between blacks and whites, fifth in Asian-white segregation, and fourth in Hispanic-white segregation. According to John Logan, a sociologist and leader of the US 2010 Census Project at Brown University, minorities living in Boston’s segregated neighborhoods make less money and get less education than peers living in whiter neighborhoods.

Hunger

The urban poor are considered one of the most vulnerable groups to hunger especially because, unlike the rural poor, they produce little or no food and frequently lack the means to buy food. It is expected that by 2030 roughly 4 billion people will live in cities, which means the number of urban poor will rise. Urban hunger and access to affordable food in cities will therefore be increasingly important issues.

Public Health Awareness

According to the World Health Organization, urban populations have the opportunity to a healthier lifestyle, as opposted to  their rural counterparts, due to greater access to social and health services. This means life expectancy is even higher in urban areas. However, “cities can also concentrate threats to health such as inadequate sanitation and refuse collection, pollution, road traffic accidents, outbreaks of infectious diseases and also unhealthy lifestyles.” Unfortunately, “many cities face a triple threat: infectious diseases which thrive when people are crowded together; chronic, noncommunicable diseases including diabetes, cancers and heart disease which are on the rise with unhealthy lifestyles including tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol; and urban health is often further burdened by road traffic accidents, injuries, violence and crime” (WHO). The Boston Public Health Commision, which is the country’s oldest health department, has over 40 programs that helps to promote the well-being and health of Boston residents.

Sources:

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/massachusetts/districts/boston-public-schools

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/09/0907_040907_feralcats.html

http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/OSEP96AnlRpt/chap4c.html

http://www.disabilitystatistics.org/reports/cps.cfm?statistic=prevalence

http://www.aging.senate.gov/crs/aging5.pdf

http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/urbanenvironment/issues/key-UE-issues.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/25/us/same-sex-couples-since-1990.html?ref=us

http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/rural

http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/geography-of-homelessness-part-4-examining-urban-homelessness

http://radioboston.wbur.org/2011/04/04/boston-segregated

http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2010/urban_health_20100407/en/

http://www.bphc.org/about/Pages/Home.aspx

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