Nearly every city in the United States has fallen victim to the effects of suburban sprawl – a multifaceted concept that includes the effects of development outwards from the city to rural land. The appeal for people to follow this trend promises more single family residences on larger lots with much lower land prices; however, what is left in the city as a result prompts much discussion and debate about the major disadvantages.
One major disadvantage is urban decay, the process whereby a previously functioning city, or part of the city, falls into despair and decrepitude. This may include depopulation, changing population, economic restructuring, abandoned buildings. As North American cities continue to see population flights to the suburbs, what is left in its place are empty lots, buildings and condemned houses and parks. These desolate places are socially dangerous as they attract criminals and street gangs.
City projects nationwide focus on the rehabilitation of neighborhoods and parks as well as the psychological rehabilitation of its community members. Over the past few decades, a trend has emerged prompting developers and city officials alike to invest in urban renewal – a process whereby bridges, highways, housing projects and public parks are rehabilitated, bringing new citizens back into the city. Citizens have even taken urban growth upon themselves by organizing "cash mobs" to support local businesses.
Playing an undeniably important role in maintaining the prosperity of cities nationwide, city projects often revitalize urban neighborhoods by giving tax incentives to those willing to participate in the campaign. Furthermore, city projects can improve cultural and social amenity, improve opportunities for safety, decrease urban sprawl and replenish housing stock. Nearly every major city in North America has an ongoing list of city projects for citizens to join and participate.