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Among the most troublesome urban problems facing American society are those that are closely tied to how land is used, including how land should be developed and how land use resources should be allocated. Most of our population lives and works in metropolitan areas and is intimately affected by how these urban land use related problems are dealt with. Satisfactory progress in solving or at least substantially alleviating these problems may be necessary if this country is to avoid increasing the polarity between rich and poor and between privileged and disadvantaged that can have such long-term adverse national consequences. Among the many current land use related urban problems are housing quality and affordability, especially for the poor; neighborhood security from crime and violence; the extent and impact of racial, ethnic and class segregation in urban communities; pollution and other threats to the natural environment; the amount and burden of taxes and other charges on real estate, including property taxes and utility costs; and channeling urban growth and revitalization efforts. Concerns over these and other land use related problems are accentuated by uncertainties as to the future. That American urban areas will change over time is assured. Whether that change will be for better or worse is difficult to predict, but current trends justify pessimism about many areas.
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