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Communicative Cities in the 21st Century

The Urban Communication Reader III


Edited By Matthew D. Matsaganis, Victoria J. Gallagher and Susan J. Drucker

This book explores the concept of the «communicative city», developed initially by participants in an international Urban Communication Foundation initiative, by bringing together scholars from across the communication arts and sciences seeking to enhance our understanding of the dynamic relationship between urban residents and their social, physical, mediated, and built environments. The chapters are arranged in categories that speak to two larger themes: first, they all speak to at least one aspect of the qualifying and/or disqualifying characteristics of a communicative city. A second, larger theme is what we might refer to as a master trope of the urban experience and, indeed, of urban communication: inside/outside. The research presented here represents social scientific and humanistic approaches to communication, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and positivist/normative and interpretive orientations, thereby providing a deeper understanding of the multi-level phenomena that unfold in urban communities.
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1 Introduction: The Making of Communicative Cities in the 21st Century

The Communicative Construction of the City




The Making of Communicative Cities in the 21st Century

Matthew D. Matsaganis & Victoria J. Gallagher

Around the mid-1800s, technological innovation in transportation broke, says Melvin (1987), the “casement of the walking city” (p. 258). As people moved further away from the densely populated and geographically limited urban centers, they created and settled into neighborhoods. Researchers began to see cities, counties, states, and the entire country, more and more, as a union of many identifiable units, a quilt made up of distinct neighborhoods (Woods, 1923). In the early days of the Chicago School of urban community ecology, between 1915 and 1925, Park, Burgess, McKenzie, and others pointed to transportation, but also to communication as two of the key mechanisms of social organization shaping the American urban communities of their time. Park in particular, perhaps because he had been trained as a journalist, argued that “transportation and communication [emphasis added] are primary factors in the ecological organization of the city” (Park, 1925/1967, p. 2).

As was the case a century ago during the time of Park and his colleagues, international and rural-to-urban migration, the emergence of an information-based economy, and technological innovation, all forces we have come to associate in recent decades with globalization (Giddens, 2002), continue to transform the cities we live in today both in subtle and dramatic ways (Castells, 2009; Longworth, 2012; Madden, 2012). In the US, for instance, the challenges that stem from increasing...

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