One Day in the American City

S1 E1 | CLIP

What Are Our Cities’ Biggest Challenges?

Through the opinions of everyday citizens to city planners, this clip explores an introduction to what challenges our urban environments. By assembling a montage of perspectives, we not only see the diversity of the issues faced, but also how local challenges are often faced on a national level.

AIRED: May 04, 2016 | 0:02:20

My name's Caleb Parker.

I'm a researcher at the Media Lab.

We're sitting in the media lab right now,

which is a center for innovation on the MIT campus.

There's about 33 labs inside the Media Lab.

I mean, its focus does new cars of the future

to the future of food, and inside of that is a group

that focuses on cities, so I'm part of that group.

It's called the city sciences,

and so the City Science Initiative

looks at big data in cities.

It looks at food in cities, uh, new places of living in cities,

uh, and mobility systems in cities.

Man: What do you see as the biggest challenges

when it comes to cities?

You know the cities of the future

are fraught with challenges.

The biggest challenge is that most of us

will be living in them.

In the next 30 to 50 years, 80% of us will be living in cities.

Woman: One of the challenges that I see is,

the buzzword right now is, like, "gentrification."

This is a traditionally African American neighborhood,

and everybody's moving out.

Man: I think, uh, Denver's biggest challenge

is the transportation

and the infrastructure for the highway.


Traffic. Traffic.

One of the biggest problems we have with the Tijuana River

and pollution along the border is the fact that we've got

thousands of waste tires that, when it rains,

wash from Tijuana back into the Tijuana River

and the watershed and the Tijuana Estuary

and eventually into the Pacific Ocean.

Man: Climate change is absolutely

the largest challenge that we are all facing.

Honestly, I think the biggest challenge

is this drought that we're facing.

Overall, we need to be serving our students better.

Man: I think the biggest challenge that

Los Angeles is facing is bringing more jobs to the city.


Political corruption is the biggest challenge.

This city is under siege, under hostage.

This is a hostage situation.

People are living in this community

right here where my church is at,

and they are not safe.

We need to find more activities for our youths.

We need to find a way to get out and reach them

a little bit better than what we've been doing.

Man: We still have an influx of, uh, illegal immigration.

I mean, right now the current administration,

they're just doing a horrible job.

Different man: We got to start from the bottom to the top.

Why are we just starting at the top? They cool.

They don't need [beep], so until we address the bottom,

it's always gonna be a problem.

Different man: Housing, transit, homelessness--

all these things are so important for officials

not only to speak out on, but to be on the ground on.


World Channel
Vienna Blood
Under a Minute
The Cardinal’s Files
Talking Pictures with Neil Rosen
Room Tone
Reel 13
Pioneers of Television
PBS Remixed
PBS Online Film Festival
PBS Indies
Open Studio with Jared Bowen
On Story
New York Documentaries