“Solving” the Wicked Problem of Homelessness in Los Angeles

“Social problems are never solved. At best they are only re-solved–over and over again,” writes Horst W. J. Rittel. When attempting to solve a large and/or difficult social problem, like homelessness, the best that can be hoped for is not the elimination of the problem, but to, as Rittel believes, “improve some characteristics of the world where people live.” So-called “wicked problems” are problems so complex that formulations, solutions, explanations, and even identifying the problems themselves defy easy resolution. Even more frustratingly, by their very complexity, wicked problems beget further wicked problems. They really are the most interesting problems of all.

Assignment. Using the framework of a wicked problem helps us to think critically and deeply about homelessness in Los Angeles. For this paper, embracing the critical thinking framework generated by thinking in the terms of a wicked problem, you will examine a single aspect of the homelessness problem in Los Angeles. Since you will be treating the problem as a wicked problem, you will need to explain the problem in depth, explain why it is a problem (what are is it effects?), explain why it is wicked (that is, address some of the multiple perspectives on the causes of the problem), articulate possible solutions to the problem, and then explain which solution would be best in “solving” the wicked problem, while acknowledging the limitations of the proposed solution.To write a successful paper, you will need to gather credible material on the problem from a variety of acceptable sources. As you gather research on your area of focus, you will need to thoroughly read, analyze, evaluate, and think critically about the material you have found. Based on your discoveries and your thinking, you will then craft a complex explanation of problem along with a proposed solution. (You should not begin the research process with a predetermined conclusion in mind! That’s never any good!)
Your paper should be well-reasoned, thought provoking, and complex, reflecting the critical thinking skills you have developed over the course of the semester.As with the previous papers, to successfully persuade an academic audience, you will need to present a logical argument supported with strong evidence and detailed, clear explanation of that evidence. To enhance your credibility and reliability, you will need to demonstrate a complex and sophisticated understanding of your topic. Ultimately, the effectiveness of your paper will depend upon your use of evidence, logic, reason, and explanation to support your analysis.

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Evidence and Research.
Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis is a national disgrace (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27MHzCyDe_E&feature=youtu.be)

Los Angeles Homelessness Crisis is a National Disgrace

The Homeless in LA are Not Who You Think They Are

The Desperate Fight for Homeless Housing

How Society Betrayed the Mentally

Without a Home

After 9 years on LAs streets

The Street Within

An Entire LA Homeless Encampment Moved Into Apartments
When L.A. Moved Them Off the Streets


After 18 Months Reporting on the Homeless Crisis

Link to original LA Times articles with pictures (https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-15/the-street-within-part-one-big-mama-neighbors-face-homelessness)

The Street Within: An L.A. homeless encampment finds its home(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fw4whGxexGo&feature=youtu.be)


Who’s Taking Charge of the Homeless CrisisFor this assignment, you will need to support your argument and analysis with evidence from outside sources. When gathering outside research be sure that it comes from credible sources. (Having high-quality evidence is essential to successfully completing this paper; a strong, compelling argument cannot be made with poor, weak, and/or insufficient evidence.) If you have any questions about the appropriateness of your sources, please, please ask me.


A Successful paper will Embracing the complexities of the problem, be guided by a strong, controlling thesis statement, which makes a clear, yet sophisticated, claim as to on how to best “solve” the aspect of homelessness in Los Angeles being explored in the paperAccount for the totality of the positions on the topic by fairly recognizing alternative positions and perspectivesRecognizing the complexity of the issue, properly qualify and contextualize the argumentative claims, analysis, and conclusionsConsist of well-developed, complete, and focused body paragraphs. This is one of the most important parts of the assignment!Provide sufficient, effective, and developed textual support (textual evidence, paraphrases, and examples) to support the analysis and argument being presentedProperly and effectively use, and cite, textual evidence to support the analysis and argumentative claims presented in the paperBe organized in a clear and effective way

LengthMinimum: 8 full pages (not including a works cited page)

Format 12 pt. font, double-spaced with one-inch margins

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