A community can be defined as a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific loyalty, share government and often have a common cultural or historical heritage. It can also be referred to as interacting living organisms sharing an environment.
It is a place where people live, work and play. In this, all communities must have physical features like water and landforms (flatland, hills, and mountains.)
According to the 2013 United States Census there are over 300 million people occupying urban, suburban or rural areas. Urban areas or cities are defined as land occupied by buildings and other structures used for residential, institutional or industrial means. Urban areas often have some form of public transportation such as busses, subways or trains. Buildings are often closer together and built higher than those in suburban or rural areas. Suburban areas are on the outskirts of cities. Residents here often commute to the city to work. Some suburban areas have commuter trains and buses that shuttle people to and from cities and the population is generally smaller than in the cities. Suburbs offer the same services such as schools, health care facilities and public works.
Rural areas have significantly lower populations with large amounts of land. Infrastructures are often spread further apart than what you will find in an urban or suburban community. Some rural communities share hospitals and schools.
(Rural, Urban and Suburban, http://www.brainpopjr.com)
Although communities may fit into various categories, there are many basic needs that a community must have in order for it to be successful. Needs like proper governance and an efficient supply of energy, food and water must exist for the community to survive. To meet these needs many considerations must be looked at; economic, environmental and social conditions, zonings, government and safety/crime prevention. There are many environmental issues associated with infrastructures and our use of them. These issues not only affect the community, but the world as a whole and are larger than any one type of energy saving design could solve. Regardless of where the homes or buildings are located how they are built, what they are used for and what is done in them can contribute to environmental problems like water pollution, energy consumption, ozone depletion, soil contamination, destruction of natural areas, solid waste and resource consumption. As noted earlier in the unit, the environmental impact and energy resources and their uses are outlined. Below, the social studies curricula are more formally outlined. (Government, http://www.brainpopjr.com)
Governance and Economics in a Community
The United States actually began as a group of small communities and throughout its rich history; Americans have maintained the need for both a local and federal government. A government is a group that sets laws and runs a community. The local government is the body that leads a specific community like a town or city and consists of counties, municipalities, special districts and school districts. The local government needs the support of its community members as well as the support from the federal government when dealing with issues of transportation or pollution. The local governments serve three main functions, health and safety, welfare and housekeeping. The function of health and safety is to provide police and fire protection, immunizations for contagious diseases, hospital services, local roads, garbage collection and fresh water to drink. Education is the largest expense in the welfare role other responsibilities also include, libraries, museums, recreational facilities and mass transit. The functions of the housekeeping role includes record keeping for births, deaths, marriages and property transfers as well as collecting taxes and administering elections.
Municipalities include the cities, villages and boroughs that provide services such as police and fire protection, parks and recreation and streets and sewers to name a few. Special districts are organized to provide services such as water and sanitation, mosquito control, transportation, parks and recreation and flood control. The special districts can change taxes and spend public money. The local government that is responsible for collecting taxes, making contracts, providing services and making the laws and ordinances for health, safety and well being of its citizens. Its leaders are elected into office such as the mayor or city council members. The mayor and city council members are responsible for making policy decisions about the way the community/city is run. This government must also have a city attorney to handle legal issues, a municipal judge to preside over court and a clerk to handle records and documents. The local government depends largely on sales tax revenue as well as the revenue from water service fees, fuel tax, vehicle registration fees, the lottery and police and fire pension funds.
The laws within the local governments may vary from those set by the state government or federal government. Each state has its own constitution that can not conflict with the national constitution. The state government runs the entire state. The governor is the elected leader. Each state also elects a senator and representatives to represent their state in Congress. Some positions in the state government are elected, while others are appointed. The appointed members help to manage the state's education and health systems, protect the state's environment and build and maintain roads to connect the communities across the state. The elected, are elected by community members voting for the candidate that they feel best represent their own views and will address the concerns of the community.
The national constitution sets the basis for the federal government. The writers of the constitution wanted to make sure that the nation and its citizens were free and independent and ensure that citizens' rights were respected and protected without becoming too powerful. After the Constitution was written, some delegates did not sign it until the Bill of Rights was added. This bill listed the individual rights of every citizen. The powers of the individual state's government were also left intact, allowing the individual states to control certain things within their borders as long as it did not interfere with the rights of the other states or nation. The power within the federal government was also limited to ensure that all 'rule' was not up to one person alone leading toward a dictatorship. The government was therefore divided into three branches; the executive, legislative and judicial branch.
The executive branch is headed by the president who carries out federal laws, recommends new ones and directs national defense and foreign policy. Powers include directing the government, commanding the armed forces, dealing with international powers, acting as chief law enforcement officer and vetoing laws. The legislative branch is headed by Congress which includes the House of Representative and Senate. Together they make laws, originate spending bills, impeach officials and approve treaties. The judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Court whose powers include interpreting the Constitution, reviewing laws, and deciding cases that involve states' rights. By creating these three branches, a check and balance system was worked into the Constitution so that no branch could become too powerful. The writers also understood that few things last without change, so the addition of amendments was added, allowing approved changes to the original document (Congress For Kids, www.congressforkids.net.)
City governments provide much of the services such as police protection, schools, hospitals and transportation to citizens. They do not always have the money that they need. The cost of running a large city is high and often repairs and maintenance fees for water pipes, sewers, roads and bridges are needed. Although most of the money comes from taxes, as people move from cities to suburbs, the cities have fewer people to tax. Businesses pay much of the taxes in cities as well, but as the businesses moves outside of the city, jobs as well as taxes are lost Unemployment then becomes a problem and with it making a living for people without jobs becomes difficult. Communities should be planned to help take care of this problem.
When planning the design of a community, many monetary factors must be taken into place. Economics is the study of goods and services and how they are produced, distributed, consumed and exchanged. Students will understand the roles of a producer, consumer, goods and services. A producer is someone who will grow goods, make goods or offer services. A consumer is the person who buys the goods or services. Although goods are grown or made, some are manufactured, such as clothes, computers and cars. Some goods are made from natural resources like pencils, paper and furniture, while others are created from non renewable resources that cannot be replaced on a reasonable time scale, like fossil fuels and oil. A service is work that someone does for someone else. Dentists, bus drivers, clerks and postal workers are all people who provide services. In addition to goods and services the idea of supply and demand must be introduced. A supply is the amount of something available to consumers, while the demand is how much consumers want. If the demand is high, but the supply is low, producers may raise their prices to maximize prices. At the same time, if demand is low and the supply is high, the price that producers charge consumers will lesson.
The idea for supply and demand is often rooted in the relationship between needs and wants. A need is something that an organism must have in order to survive such as air, food, water and shelter. A want something that someone would like to have, but can survive without such as televisions, video games or bicycles. Within a community people need to have jobs in order to earn the money to first meet their needs and later their wants. This earned money through work can be used for the goods and services necessary in their life. (Economics, http://www.brainpopjr.com)