Sample Economics Research Paper on Sustainable Cities and Communities

Introduction

The world is quickly changing with various changes taking place and systems requiring updates or modification. The goals set by a particular country for growth and development applies to another country due to the similarity in the features of implementation. With globalization and increased similarity in the world, there rose need to have sustainable development goals (SDGs), and many countries around the world agreed to seventeen specific targets. The main agenda of the SDGs was to end poverty across the world, protect it for future generations and to ensure the prosperity and well-being of every individual (United Nations). This report addresses goal number eleven that deals with having sustainable cities which are safe with communities that participate in productive activities for development. The research answers questions such as what needs to be changed to make our cities, towns, and villages safe and who are the participants into achieving the set goal.

The conference held in Ecuador in 2016 to discuss the ways of building sustainable housing in urban areas come up with specific actions for implementation. The United Nations organization is the front line in achieving the set goals and targets through mobilization of all relevant stakeholders. People, corporate companies, and government agencies are involved in the efforts of bettering the world for our generation and future existence. The economic status of a country contributes greatly to the development activities which people engage in and their success. Various companies use the SDGs in their vision and mission, and through combined activities, it is possible to meet the targets by the year 2030. The report also looks at ways through which companies connect within countries to achieve the goals in the set timeline.

The goal for sustainable cities and communities requires proper planning and management among the important stakeholders. The city plans over the years have not received adequate scrutiny which resulted in congested towns full of air, water, and land pollutants. Consequently, the lives and wellbeing of people in urban centers were poor and required an urgent response. The rearrangement of cities faces much resistance from people living in shanties and slums who have nowhere else to go. The government regulations are often ignored when building cities and town leading to overcrowding in particular areas while others remain empty. The inequality within the society due to social classes causes poor people to feel isolated and lack a sense of identity. The SDGs aim at eliminating poverty and specifically building an inclusive community where everyone exists freely.

Analysis

The formulation of the United Nations Sustainable development goals (SDGs) was strategic for ensuring that global poverty level decrease over time and people live safely and enjoy a certain amount of success. The eleventh goal focuses on making cities and communities inclusive, safe, strong and sustainable (United Nations). The UN conference of 2016 in Quito, Ecuador discussed the challenges faced by planning committees within various countries to develop cities, towns, and settlements in villages which are sustainable. The implementation of SDGs requires adequate resources and joint activities between different shareholders. Adopting the 2030 agenda of sustainable development requires a country to commit resources and workforce into their attainment within the set timeline.

The goal for sustainable cities and communities is many-sided and includes the cultural positioning of people. Their economic status, the ideas and desires for productivity and growth, and the social relations amongst the people. Most countries struggle with high levels of unemployment and poverty, especially among the middle and low-class communities. In Kuwait, for example, the number of people who are not working but are willing and able to work has risen to 2.1 as at 2016 (World Bank).

 Unemployment results in a large number of people living below the poverty line and straining the available resources for survival. It affects the housing system as people choose poorly constructed houses which are cheap while ignoring the security standards. The agenda of building sustainable housing faces such challenges as well as overcrowding in cities and towns. The city planners continually push for teamwork between the people and the house planning committees which have made progress towards attaining target number eleven slow.

Zain Telecom Company

Channels for communication and proper means of transportation are essential within a town, city or village settlement. In Kuwait, there is a telecommunication company which is making important steps towards achieving the sustainability targets. Zain Group offers mobile telecom services throughout Kuwait and in other countries across the globe. The company is innovative and has managed to remain top in the competitive market. The management of Zain participates in the implementation of the SDGs by following the national plan set for development (Kuwait Times n.p). Zain is a privately owned company that supports the achievement of Kuwait’s goals by offering leadership in trading and business management.

Zain understands the need for collaboration and creation of opportunities for the community to be involved in the implementation of target eleven of the SDGs. The corporate department of the company embraces the corporate social responsibility and uses the communication channels to offer training to people about the necessity for sustainability.

The government of Kuwait has encouraged the efforts of the public and private sectors towards sustainability by funding scientific research and innovative economic activities. Zain Company employs over 6,000 individuals who get to enjoy the benefits of working in an innovative company (Zain.com).

The employees are introduced to the company’s ethics and values and gain a sense of belonging as they are involved in interactive activities for sustainable development. They are offered training opportunities, and they serve the customers with dedication thus the company has a customer base of over one million people. The company has a policy of empowering the community and supporting economic growth. The financial status of the company has been steady with the profit margins being at 8% in 2016. There is tough competition within the industry, but Zain has been able to remain an industry giant due to its quality services.

Micro-economic Factors

The variables which Zain meet regarding the consumers ‘choices in the marketplace due to different preferences for communication channels constitute the microeconomic environment. The prices of the products and services offered have to be affordable for the customers and able to meet their needs effectively. The communication industry has many firms which offer similar products or services that require unique branding for Zain Company. The marketing strategies used by the company have to target the existing loyal consumers as well as the new customers (Investopedia n.p). The advertisement should be specific to the market needs and also stand out amongst other brands. The consumers’ choices can be influenced by offering promotional products and cash discounts for wholesale purchases. The company should improve customer services and provide high-quality services consistently.

For the significant development of the economy and the financial status of the individuals, the company executives make decisions which promote productivity. Zain Group invests into a sustainable future in communication through strong partnerships and thoughts for the social and environmental factors of Kuwait. In a 2016 sustainability report, Zain reports the steps taken towards sustainable development and honoring their corporate responsibility (Cloud front n.p). The company partnered with several organizations such as Ahlna and United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in providing housing units for refugees and telecommunication services in the refugee camps. Mobile connectivity within the camps helped to ease communication among the refugees and the aid workers to operate efficiently in their activities.

Macroeconomic Variables

The working of the economy as whole influences the activities and investment decisions of a company. The rates of inflation or government spending affect the decisions which a company will take towards ensuring sustainability. When the inflation rate within a country goes too high, the company questions its ability to sustain production of goods and services to the public (Trading Economics n.p) Zain provides telecommunication services, and the charges depend on the inflation rate in the country. When the inflation rate is high, the cost of services also increases and vice versa. However, there is a price beyond which the customers will not be able to afford the services, and thus the company has to stay below that amount. Kuwait has had a stable economy over the last few years.

The unemployment rates have remained at 2.1% as shown in table 1. The labor market has many qualified individuals, and hence the human resource manager to the company has to hire the most capable person who probably has experience.

Conclusion

 The relationship between unemployment rate and consumption patterns in a country affects sustainability. The people who are unemployed struggle to get their daily needs and end up overusing the available resources (Knoema n.p). The per capita income in Kuwait is relatively high, but the distribution of resources is limited. The use of resources should remove unfairness and ensure that each gets the right amount. Zain is driven towards sustainability by incorporating positive macroeconomic factors that promote wealth in the country. These factors are hard to change so the company has to work around them while still maintaining profitability (Nadal, p. 59).Macroeconomic factors affect the output of the company when they are not well coordinated. The employees, as well as the management, should continuously work towards overcoming the challenges and providing quality services to the customers.

Problem Statement

The achievement of goals requires detailed planning and the availability of resources which are used during the carrying out process. Countries that are struggling with poverty will have limited resources to participate in activities that are directed towards sustainability. The research seeks to identify the available resources which can be economically used to speed up the achievement of the SGDs by 2030. Specific interest is in the success of goal eleven of sustainable cities and communities which are safe and prosperous. The companies which are at the front line of this process will also be analyzed and the factors affecting their economic status.

The United Nations has set up signs to weigh the progress towards the achievement of the sustainable goals. However, very few countries have been able to reach the targets due to limited available resources and structures to change the systems. The building of safe cities requires the abolition or reorganization of slums in urban areas and informal settlements. The process of changing the housing systems is delayed by government legislation or civil cases brought to court by the residents of slums or shanties (United Nations ESCAP n.p). There is a need for the government to work together with other participants from the private and public sectors to attain sustainable development. The private sector offers financial resources and workforce on building projects aimed at reforming the nature of cities, towns and village settlements.

Importance of the Research

This report seeks to provide information that will shed light on the efforts and challenges faced by countries to implement the target actions of the SDGs with the specific interest in goal eleven for sustainable cities and communities. The factors mentioned in this paper apply to different countries of the same economic status. Assessing the micro- and macroeconomic factors within a company which is working towards the attainment of the set targets help to identify the areas which require more resources to succeed.

Also, the information and data in this report help to identify the trends and steps taken into achieving the target of sustainable cities and communities which are safe. The government has put effort into ensuring that the planning and building in cities comply with the set standards for sustainability. The access to basic needs such as clean water and food, proper communication and transports systems and environmental safety are all part of the target of having cities and communities that future generations can use and enjoy.

Research Questions

The study will focus on several questions to evaluate the level of understanding of people and corporate companies on sustainable development goals. The questions will include:

1. How many corporate companies in Kuwait know about the development goal for sustainable cities and communities?

2. What economic resources are available for the attainment of the eleventh sustainable development goal?

3. What are the trends and steps taken by companies and individuals towards achieving the sustainable goal of safe cities and communities?

Research Methodology

The information and data relating to the study of the sustainable development of cities and communities will be collected through varies means. The correctness of the information will be improved by having the responses recorded in duplicate form and counter-checked.

1.  Interviews will be conducted to collect information about the knowledge of the United Nations sustainable development goals from corporate companies. The managers will be contacted using the telephone and requested to participate truthfully in the research.

2.  A follow-up questionnaire will be sent to the managers through e-mail for further questions. The appropriate people will be asked to offer extra information about the resources available in the company. The questions will also find out the actions taken by the company towards attaining the sustainability standards of cities and communities. The forms will then be sent back and examined by the researchers. The questions will be formulated by modifying published materials on similar research.

3.  Online research will be carried out to obtain secondary information from corporate companies on the actions steps towards achieving the UN set targets on sustainable cities and communities. Due to the problems faced in trying to reach the companies’ offices physically, the data collected will be from trustworthy sources on the strategies in place towards 2030 SDGs.

4. Economic resource inspection will be done using information obtained from companies and general status of the country’ economy. Availability of resources will determine whether the company can build cities and communities which are safe and that have affordable housing, means of transport and communication.

Analysis of Research Findings

The hypothesis for the research is that companies in Kuwait will have knowledge of the sustainable development goals and have set guidelines towards achieving them. The findings from the questionnaires and interviews will be analyzed into percentages and reported in tables and graphs to indicate the differences (Treiman, 2004). Careful statistical analysis of quantitative data will be conducted to approve or disapprove the assumptions made in this research. The information obtained from the interviews and questionnaire will be group into different categories indicating the knowledge level of the company’s management about SDGs. Comparisons and contrasts will be done using the data to identify possible changes in company awareness over the years.

The estimation of resources available with companies and the country at large will be done using the production possibility curve (PPC). The availability of resources influences the choice and efficient use of the scarce assets for sustainable development. The development of cities which are safe and inclusive requires resources which are used responsibly for the benefit of all people. The research should show the specific activities into which resources are spent on and the profit gained from them. Using the cost-benefit analysis (CBA) tool on economic resources helps to identify the investments which are non-profitable and those which are beneficial. The problems faced in fulfilling the SDG eleven will be identified by the analyzing the data from the participants in the development plan. The significant development plans for the building of future sustainable houses will depend on the economic resources available for use.

Conclusion

The sustainability of the cities, towns, and villages people live in, depends on the use of the available resources. The participants in the development cycle include the government, the corporate companies, public companies and the general population. It is necessary for people and corporate organizations to have knowledge of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) for proper planning towards attaining the set targets. Eliminating poverty within a country like Kuwait still, faces numerous challenges such as the number of unemployed individuals and the inflation rates. The efforts put forward by Zain Company, which is a private unit, set the speed for actions towards sustainable development.

The company offers employment and training opportunities for people with the required qualifications. Zain has a management team which shares the SDGs’ vision of creating whole cities and towns which are sustainable for future generations. The company is an example to other corporate organizations which can partner together and achieve vision 2030. The cities built should offer safe housing for people and is inclusive. The creation of such areas will reduce the overcrowding in urban areas by providing housing solutions that are inexpensive.

Work Cited

Cloudfront. “Zain sustainability report 2016.” Committed to Sustainable Development Goals,10 Aug. 2016, d2eiv94jj0lpuu.cloudfront.net/media/filer_public/cd/e6/cde6b6fb-cf7a- 4c99-958f-ba23c2d8a0a9/02_introduction_-_single.pdf. Accessed 22 Oct. 2017.

 Investopedia. “Microeconomics: Factors Of Consumer Decision-Making.” Investopedia, 2017, www.investopedia.com/university/microeconomics/microeconomics3.asp. Accessed 22 Oct. 2017.

Knoema. “Kuwait Unemployment Rate, 1980-2017 – Knoema.com.” Knoema, 2017, knoema.com/atlas/Kuwait/Unemployment-rate. Accessed 22 Oct. 2017.

Kuwait Times. “Zain committed 2030 sustainable development agenda Kuwait beyond.” Kuwait times, [Kuwait], 2016, p. 15.

Nadal, Egea A. “Variable factors in Macroeconomics.” Rethinking Macroeconomics for Sustainability, 1st ed., Zed Books, 2011, p. 59.

Trading Economics. “Kuwait Unemployment Rate.” INDICATORS FROM 196 COUNTRIES, 18 Oct. 2017, tradingeconomics.com/kuwait/unemployment-rateV. Accessed 22 Oct. 2017.

Treiman, D. J. (2014). “Cross-Tabulations.” In Quantitative Data Analysis: Doing Social Research to Test Ideas (p. 10). Somerset, FL: Wiley.

United Nations ESCAP. “Sustainable Development Goals.” Integrated Approaches for Sustainable Development Goals Planning, 2017, pp. 1-4.

United Nations. Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. 2016. www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/cities/. Accessed 22 Oct. 2017.

“Sustainable Development Goals – United Nations.” United Nations Sustainable Development, 17 Oct. 2017, www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable- development-goals/. Accessed 22 Oct. 2017.

World Bank. “Unemployment, Total (% of Total Labor Force) (modeled ILO Estimate) Data.” World Bank data, The World Bank Group, 15 Oct. 2017, data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.UEM.TOTL.ZS.

TABLES

Date Value Change, % 2017 2.1 0.00 % 2016 2.1 0.00 % 2015 2.1 0.00 % 2014 2.1 0.00 % 2013 2.1 0.00 % 2012 2.1 0.00 % 2011 2.1 0.00 % 2010 2.1 26.42 % 2009 1.6 -1.92 % 2008 1.7 -1.76 % 2007 1.7 24.16 % 2006 1.4      

Table 1: Comparison of Unemployment Rate