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Windshield Survey: Downtown Mobile

Windshield Survey: Downtown Mobile

Community Core

History

The Mobile City is located on the riverbanks in the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico and the southwestern corner of Alabama. It is the administrative center of Mobile County and the third most populated place in the state of Alabama. While driving in the downtown, one can see several businesses run by different people of mixed races.  Three nursing students conducting this windshield survey interviewed a resident who had been staying in the city for 22 years. The resident said that the downtown of Mobile had experienced a tremendous change due to the increase in the number of businesses that had been brought to the area in the past 20 years.  The resident also said that twenty years ago, there were only several buildings established in the downtown, which led to the increased number of businesses. Consequently, most residents had to move to the outskirts.

According to the City of Mobile (2016), the downtown has a long history that can be traced back to the period between 1702 and 1813. From 1702, the French ruled the city and was also engaged in war  with Spain. Therefore, the City became a battle ground. During the colonial history, people from different parts of the world came to that place and established permanent residence. The mobile tribe encountered by the French during the colonial period led to the name Mobile City. In 1763, Britain gained the control over the colony, which was later invaded by the Spain in 1780. The Spanish ruled Mobile until 1813, when it was captured by the forces of the United States. Together with other tribes who came to the area, such as African as slaves, the mobile tribe resulted in the diversity of population and the growth of businesses in the City, particularly the downtown continues to thrive today.

Demographics

There are several people of different races occupying downtown Mobile. The Spanish and French history influenced the current increase of such individuals in the area (United States History, 2016). Moreover, the Asians, Germans, African Americans, and Caucasians live in downtown Mobile. While driving along the Dauphin Street, the group encountered three homeless people roaming the streets. During the interview, they said that there were more individuals who lived on the streets. One group member asked them if they had any shelter and they stated that they lived in tents, but they permanently came to the town to beg.  Some owners of the local firms were complaining that panhandling of the homeless affected their businesses because it deterred people from coming to downtown Mobile.

Ethnicity and Cultural Practices

There are different ethnic groups in Mobile downtown that display their culture through art, dressing, and food. While driving from downtown, the team visited the Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Robertson Gallery, and the Cathedral Square Gallery. The group saw the Mobile Museum of Art, and one resident said that it promotes art and entertainment. Further, the team identified the National African American Archives and Museum, which was beside the Government Street. While interviewing one resident, he admitted that the museum had contributed immensely to the conservation of the African-American heritage in downtown Mobile through art. This windshield survey also coincided with the popular ArtWalk. There were thousands of people gathered in the city to enjoy the walk.  The team stopped to look at the activity, which had both contemporary and traditional Art Walk. During this period, the group saw several paintings and sculptures done by the artists displayed in the town.

Values and Beliefs

The team encountered 22 churches during the windshield survey. Five of them were Catholic churches that included the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, and St. Mathews Catholic Church. The two Methodist churches that the group visited were Dauphin Way United Methodist Church and the Government Street United Methodist Church. Moreover, the team passed three Baptist churches that included First Baptist Church of Mobile, Spring Hill Baptist Church, and Cottage Hill Baptist Church. Finally, they encountered seven Pentecostal churches, such as the Overcoming Church of God, Pentecostal Church of God, Temple of God, Freewill Pentecostal Church, and the Apostolic Church of God.  The group also saw one mosque, Mobile Masjid of Al-Islam, when it was finishing the survey. Further, they noticed the Magnolia cemetery, and while driving along the Anne and Virginia streets, the team encountered the statuary monument to Eliza Bleecker.

Community Subsystems

Physical Environment

The Mobile City downtown is located on the Gulf of Mexico, which is in the southwestern parts of Alabama. Several story buildings exist in the city center and have numerous restaurants, shops, and bars. The city is adjacent to the mobile river, where the team could view the Mobile Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico. The Magnolia Grove borders the north of the city, Thornhill, Cody, and Everton is located on the west side; Skyland Park, Neshota, and the Brookely Field airport are in the south of the city, and the Mobile River borders the east. According to the information presented by the United States Census Bureau (2015), Mobile City has 159.4 square miles and a population of 195,111, most of them living in the downtown. The Downtown Mobile Alliance (2016) has a map, which shows that it has 128 square miles.

According to the U.S Climate Data (2016), the annual high temperature in Mobile is 77.5 degrees Fahrenheit; the annual low temperature is 57 degrees Fahrenheit and the average temperature is 67.25 degrees Fahrenheit. The group noticed various trees conserved in the town. The air is clear as there are no environmental hazards, such as air pollutants in the area.  There were also various playgrounds, where the children were playing. There are several houses located in downtown Mobile, but these residential homes are several feet apart from each other. The infrastructure of the area is developed, whereas the community has maintained its friendliness.

Health and Social Services

Downtown Mobile has various nursing homes and different health centers that offer several health services.  The group saw the older adults and different disabled people going to visit the health facilities. While driving along several streets, the group could notice the shelters for the homeless. The team interviewed individuals who said that most people over 18 years were eligible for shelters. There is Downtown Health Center, which offers adolescent and pediatric services, adult health, behavioral health, dental screenings, family planning, immunizations, health insurance application services, medical records, social services, Sexually Transmitted Disease treatment, and counseling services.

In addition, the team could notice the Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, which is accessible to most people and serves most individuals in downtown. The group further encountered the nursing centers, such as the Twin Oaks Nursing Home, Sea Breeze nursing home, and Crown healthcare. There were sick people in all the facilities, and the healthcare providers were busy attending to them. The team could also notice two hospice centers, Spring Hill Home Health, and Hospice and Mercy Medical.

Economy

According to Downtown Mobile Alliance (2016), Mobile is the economic hub of the central Gulf Cost. Downtown Mobile Alliance (2016) projects that, due to the current businesses and the innovations in the town, the future is more exciting than the past. Downtown Mobile is the twelfth busiest port in the United States as well as the economic hub of the Mobile County (Visit Mobile Alabama, 2016). While driving along the streets of downtown, the group could identify several business people, including artists and social workers, selling their products and services. The port was also a busy place, and one resident stated that it contributed immensely to the creation of jobs in the area. 

According to the estimations, presented by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (2016), the local unemployment rate amounts to 6%. The group identified that most people in downtown were committed to their work apart from the homeless.  The residents buy their groceries from Publix, Whole Food Market, The Fresh Market, Spice Grocery and Grill and Food Park International Foods. Moreover, the team encountered several supermarkets, such as Rouses Markets, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Costo and Piggly Wiggly.

Transport and Safety

Most people in downtown Mobile use private transportation. The group noticed that several people were using bicycles and many others were walking on the sidewalks.  However, the team also noticed the transit system Loda Moda, a bus that was free and ferried several people to many places in downtown. Most people preferred the Loda Moda because they regarded it as an efficient and quick way to navigate Mobile. There were also taxis, which carried people around downtown, and the bay ferries were used to move the tourists across the bay.  The group also encountered free transportation for the seniors and other people with disabilities.

During the survey, the team noticed three police departments in St. Stephen's Road, Dauphin Street, and the Government Street. Some policemen were patrolling the town and did not seem to interfere with the activities of the business people. The group also encountered downtown ambassadors, who escorted the team to several locations and assured that crime rate was not high during the day. One respondent stated that the security problems occur mostly at night, but not prevalent in the most parts of downtown. Several other interviewed people stated that they felt safe in the most parts of downtown during the day.

Politics and Government

When driving across the downtown, the group did several stops and encountered many people discussing the current presidential elections between Donal J Trump and Hillary Clinton. After interviewing various people, it became evident that there was no favorite presidential candidate since the people were divided equally in their support. Locally, the opinions of the public regarding the Democrat and the Republican Party were neutral. From the obtained responses relating to the question about preferred candidates, most residents did not have a favorite party. One resident said they preferred to listen to the agendas of the candidates as opposed to the parties.

The current mayor of Mobile is Sandy Stimpson who was elected in 2013 and is serving his first term. The county council has seven members, whose offices are located in the Government Plaza Building on the ninth floor. There are seven members who head the seven districts of Mobile. According to the City of Mobile (2016), the county council members are committed to attracting new industry, reinvigorate the city, and develop downtown at the waterfront. Most people were contented with the services of the local government. Several people interviewed by the team identified themselves with the local government, which often involves the citizens in the decision-making processes.

Communication

The most convenient way of communication that the group noted was the use of mobile phones. The six people that the team interviewed had mobile phones, which they termed as fast and efficient in communicating with other people who are away.  The younger individuals also used social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, more than the seniors did. The group also noticed the younger people using the Internet on their mobile phones and computers to monitor the current happenings in the entire world. Upon interacting with the community, the students identified that the younger people used television for information most of the time as opposed to adults. Downtown Mobile also has erected billboards, and there are moving trucks with billboards for advertisements. Most importantly, personal communication was another convenient way of interaction among the people in downtown Mobile.

Education

The students interviewed people regarding their educational background and noticed that many of them had graduated from the high school. While driving along the city, the team saw the Augusta Evans School, W.P Davidson High School, and Continuous Learning Center. Most children were at schools during the day at the time of the survey, and the team could see only the adults fulfilling their daily tasks. The county has several libraries, such as the West Regional Library and the Mobile Public Library, where the residents can access a broad range of information. According to the Mobile Public Library (2016), several children, young adults, and older people visit the library to access various services, such as library loans, outreach services, research database and also to read new publications in various books and magazines. The schools in downtown Mobile are regulated by the Mobile Board of Education, which serves the rural, urban, and suburban areas in Mobile City (Mobile County Public School System, 2016). The major issue of education, according to the statements of the residents, is that not many people had an interest in engineering and science courses. Most were well interested in arts. The team visited Augusta Evans School where they identified one nurse, whose goal was to primarily provide curative and preventive services and refer sick children for further medical care as appropriate.

Recreation

There are many facilities in downtown Mobile, which residents use for recreation. When driving along the Downtown Mobile Street, the team saw Arlington and Baumhauer parks, where the residents were accessing various amenities, including relaxing and playing football. There were some children playing football in one field, and one resident noticed that the winners would be awarded.   Other parks include the Botanical Garden, City Museum, Commerence Plaza, and CrawFord Park that the community around can utilize for various recreation purposes (The City of Mobile, 2016). The team also noticed a field, where the schoolchildren could perform their extracurricular activities.


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