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Urban Communication Reader IV

Cities as Communicative Change Agents

by erin daina mcclellan (Volume editor) Yongjun Shin (Volume editor) Curry Chandler (Volume editor)
Textbook XVI, 338 Pages
Series: Urban Communication, Volume 7

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Dedication
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: Cities as Communicative Change Agents: ERIN DAINA MCCLELLAN, BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY, U.S., YONGJUN SHIN, BRIDGEWATER STATE UNIVERSITY, U.S. & CURRY CHANDLER, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, U.S.
  • Section 1: Change through Institutional Intervention
  • 1. Planning for Change: The Rhetorical (Re)invention of Urban Parks: KAITLYN HAYNAL, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, U.S.
  • 2. Styling Sustainable Atlanta: Touring the BeltLine and Public Performances of Concordance: SCOTT TULLOCH, BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE, CUNY, U.S.
  • 3. Social Capital and Social Change in Urban Politics: Understanding a Local Policy Case from an Urban Communication Perspective: YONGJUN SHIN, BRIDGEWATER STATE UNIVERSITY, U.S.
  • 4. ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ or Advertise: The First Amendment Implications of Advertising and Panhandling on the New York City Mass Transit System: ADRIENNE E. HACKER-DANIELS, ILLINOIS COLLEGE, U.S.
  • 5. From Margins to Mainstream: The Changing Street Art Scenario in Delhi: DEEPIKA JAUHARI, DARS, NEW DELHI, INDIA
  • Section 2: Change in Place and through Space
  • 6. The “Tweeting” Discourse of Balconies and Porches in the City: Identity Politics, Public Speaking, and Social Change: CAROLIN ARONIS, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO-BOULDER, U.S.
  • 7. Gentrification of Lavale: Changing Spatiality and the Making of a Rural-Urban Complex: SHUBHDA ARORA, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, LUCKNOW, INDIA, JUHI JOTWANI, FOUNDATION FOR LIBERAL AND MANAGEMENT EDUCATION (FLAME) UNIVERSITY, INDIA & PRACHITI MANE, FOUNDATION FOR LIBERAL AND MANAGEMENT EDUCATION (FLAME) UNIVERSITY, INDIA
  • 8. Talking to Urban People: An Exploration of Farmers’ Social Media Storytelling Strategies: JIN-AE KANG, EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY, U.S. & BRITTANY M. W. THOMPSON, EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY, U.S.
  • 9. Baseball Fields of Care: Urban Sportscapes, Neighborhood Change, and the Gentrification of Commemorative Space: CURRY CHANDLER, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, U.S.
  • 10. Playing Outside: The Transformation of Children’s’ Urban Play: SUSAN J. DRUCKER, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY, U.S. & GARY GUMPERT, EMERITUS, QUEENS COLLEGE, CUNY, U.S.
  • Section 3: Change through Participation and Engagement
  • 11. City Living: The Significance of Critical Pedagogy for Urban Communication: ERIN DAINA MCCLELLAN, BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY, U.S. & CHRISTINA L. IVEY, BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY, U.S.
  • 12. Changing Place Identity by Visual Design? A Rhetorical Field Study of a Post-Industrial Place Development Project: IBEN BRINCH JØRGENSEN, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH-EASTERN NORWAY, NORWAY
  • 13. Between Visions and Realities: Testing Shared Governance in Adaptive Reuse of Industrial Heritage: GRETE SWENSEN, NORWEGIAN INSTITUTE FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE RESEARCH (NIKU), NORWAY
  • 14. Urban Agriculture in the City of Cali, Colombia and Communication for Social Change: SOLÓN CALERO, UNIVERSIDAD AUTÓNOMA DE OCCIDENTE, COLOMBIA & CARMEN C. RIVERA, UNIVERSIDAD AUTÓNOMA DE OCCIDENTE, COLOMBIA
  • List of Contributors

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the gracious and long-term support of the Urban Communication Foundation in helping us to grow ideas and careers that made this volume possible. We would especially like to acknowledge the support of both Gary Gumpert and Susan Drucker, without whom our careers would not be the same.

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Introduction: Cities as Communicative Change Agents

ERIN DAINA MCCLELLAN, YONGJUN SHIN, & CURRY CHANDLER

Abstract:

Today, the world is facing climate change, wealth inequality, housing crises, food shortages, mass migration, and now a global health pandemic. Cities are at the heart of both these problems and their solutions. Urban communication scholars are well-poised to examine the change initiatives that are both caused and inspired by such complex problems. This volume provides a collection of urban communication research focused on how examining change through the lens of communication provides unique processual understandings of cities as dynamic sites formed through the interplay between concrete cases and conceptual ideas. The first section, Change through Institutional Intervention, addresses how diverse societal institutions—including policy, regulation, planning, and voluntary arts—interplay with changes in our urban communities. The second section, Change in Place and through Space, explores various ways in which spaces and places are able to transform through communicative practice, specifically focusing on how space and place provide unique frames for communicating change and influencing interaction in cities. The third section, Change through Participation and Engagement, collectively draws attention to the ways that public participation and engagement are utilized in cities in ways that enhance the communication both within and about them, focusing specifically on how this happens globally in teaching and learning environments, community planning partnerships, industrial site redevelopment projects, and approaches to food sovereignty in urban agricultural initiatives.

Keywords: urban communication, cities, communicative change, institutional intervention, urban place and space, participation, engagement

Change is a defining aspect of the urban condition. As cities face unique challenges, they attempt to evolve, adapt, and lead the world into an uncertain future, especially as the age of artificial intelligence and other digital technologies attempt to make cities more “efficient.” A 2017 article in The ←1 | 2→Economist online reflects that “cities may occupy just 2 per cent of the earth’s land surface, but they are home to more than half of the world’s population and generate 80 percent of all economic output” and further predicts that “by 2045, an extra 2 billion people will live in urban areas.” The inevitable increase in demographic, ideological, and socio-cultural diversity that accompanies urban growth is similarly worthy of our attention. More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci designed an “ideal city” (see Alonso, 2019) that attempted to reshape how we think and act in cities so as to prevent another outbreak of the plague. Today, cities are coping with a global health pandemic, persistent threats of climate change, wealth inequality, housing crises, food shortages, and the continued challenges of mass migration. Cities are both at the heart of these problems and a key to implementing solutions.

Urban communication research is dedicated to contemporary issues while simultaneously engaging in a breadth of social, political, and psychological theory, media history and public sphere theory. Works by Henri Lefebvre (1991), Michel de Certeau (1984), Antonio Gramsci (1999), and others have provided a communicative focus on cities that enabled urban communication research to further utilize contributions by Lewis Mumford (1956), Richard Sennett (1994), Jürgen Habermas (1981), and Jane Jacobs (1961) to engage in focused examinations of the uniqueness of cities and their impacts. By finding the threads that weave Lefebvre’s insights about space and place with Jacobs’ notion of new urbanism, contemporary urban communication scholarship examines both how we communicate and analyzes what we communicate such that urban scholars, urban planners, and urban residents alike can find insight and relevancy in its work. Urban communication research, thus, continues to lie at the heart of both formal and informal calls for urban change. Urban communication scholars are well-poised to examine both these change initiatives and the crises such changes continue to present.

Specifically, we see cities as embedded and necessary communicative change agents in addressing these crises. Lewis, Schmisseur, Stephens, and Wier (2006) identify three roles of change agents: (1) promoting communication and participation, (2) facilitating the change process, and (3) creating a vision. This volume provides a collection of urban communication research that historically examines, presently analyzes, and creatively imagines the future of cities as change agents. By focusing on urban change through the lens of communication, processual understandings of cities as dynamic sites formed through the interplay between both concrete cases and conceptual ideas can be further explored. Theorists of urban communication draw attention to the discursive and material texts that shape urban spaces and aim to transform communicative practices and interaction, and practitioners of urban ←2 | 3→communication often focus on implementing communication approaches to organizing, evaluating, and/or creating programs and policies to guide the way that cities function in everyday life. Urban communication scholars have examined discourses of neighborhood transition (Makagon, 2010), the impact of new technologies on urban sociality (Gumpert & Drucker, 2001), and changing conceptions of public space (Carragee, 2007), to name a few. An urban communication paradigm provides an ideal mode for addressing the symbolic dimensions of urban life and invites us to (re)consider the means by which city dwellers and global communities can participate in the discourses that shape their environments.

We see this fourth volume of the Urban Communication Reader to offer both academics and practitioners an opportunity to (re)consider how the field of urban communication centrally anchors a breadth of disciplinary interests that inform how cities act as change agents. We invite practitioners of urban change to implement urban communication research as they design and implement strategies, policies, programs, and visions of change in the specific cities where they work. And we invite urban communication scholars to use this format to inform larger discourses and scholarship about how we understand cities historically, presently, and into the future. By including scholarship from functional, critical, and cultural approaches to research, in addition to balancing work that emphasizes specific urban change with case studies and on-the-ground work that (re)considers how we have, can, and/or should approach urban change, this volume will illustrate the various ways that urban communication scholarship plays a pivotal role in identifying both problems and solutions related to cities as communicative change agents. The chapters in this volume are grouped into three themes: Change through Institutional Intervention, Change in Place and through Space, and Change through Participation and Engagement.

The first section, change through institutional intervention, addresses how diverse societal institutions—including policy, regulation, planning, and even voluntary arts—interplay with changes in our urban communities. Regarding urban planning, Pittsburgh’s urban parks and Atlanta’s urban renewal project have been investigated as a crucial institutional intervention in urban communities. Also, in terms of urban policy and regulation, while an urban policy in Madison, WI, has been assessed with the theoretical framework of social capital and urban politics, New York City’s regulation on commercial/political advertising on mass transit has been addressed based on First Amendment rights. On the other hand, the voluntary interventions by non-governmental institutions such as non-government organizations in Delhi, India, have been discussed as change agents’ projects.

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The First chapter, “Planning for Change: The Rhetorical (Re)invention of Urban Parks,” tackles how themes of sustainability, urban identity and livability, and future cities are rhetorically figured in urban park planning by analyzing the 2000 Pittsburgh’s Regional Parks Master Plan and Regional Parks Master Plan 2012 Update from a critical rhetorical perspective. Haynal argues that the Parks Master Plan, as a “living” document, reflects the changing needs that arise in its planners’ pursuit of creating a parks system suitable for developing Pittsburgh as a sustainable city of the future. While urban parks are valuable symbols for promoting sustainable capital, environmental, and equitable development of competitive cities, many contemporary urban parks exhibit signs of degradation from decades of use, misuse and neglect, necessitating significant restoration planning to restore these vital green commons.

The Second chapter, “Styling Sustainable Atlanta: Touring the BeltLine and Public Performances of Concordance,” deals with an extensive urban renewal project that involves building a twenty-two mile light rail loop integrated with parks, trails, and mixed-use development around Atlanta’s urban core. Tulloch identifies rhetorical maneuvers performed by the BeltLine (its sites, materials, and proponents) by participating and critiquing well-attended and publicized tours of the project. Based upon rhetorical theories of “disruptive” and “interruptive” visual-material performances, he argues that touring the BeltLine is a visual-material performance of concordance, involving complex arrangements of particular bodies, fragmented sites, and divergent temporal contexts, contiguous in rhetorical figurations of community, unified space, and shared passage through time. Touring the BeltLine sutures the fragmentation and heterogeneity of urban space. The case study illustrates how institutions and developers can manage forms of public participation to minimize dissent and project consent to urban renewal.

The Third chapter, “Social Capital and Social Change in Urban Politics: Understanding a Local Policy Case from an Urban Communication Perspective,” investigates how a local low-income housing policy has been developed and implemented by various stakeholders through a case study of Madison’s inclusionary-zoning ordinance. The historical case study demonstrates that public policy can be a political product which needs collective efforts for actualization and implementation, rather than merely a technical, administrative solution for public needs and urban issues. Based on the evidence of the efficacy for the core stakeholders’ collective networking and policy opposition, Shin explains, inductively, that the political process of policy creation and implementation with the concept of social capital in the context of politics.

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The Fourth chapter, “ ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ or Advertise: The First Amendment Implications of Advertising and Panhandling on the New York City Mass Transit System,” explores the impact of legal rulings and transit regulations in fashioning policies which attempt to weigh governmental interests against First Amendment rights on the New York City mass transit system. Hacker-Daniels argues that the formulation of reasonable policies regarding commercial/political advertising and panhandling on New York City’s mass transit has been peripatetic and elusive at best, for dilemmas have arisen in light of the inability of either the courts or regulatory agencies to provide stable and consistent applications of First Amendment principles commensurate with the mission statements and regulatory tenets of the MTA. She uncovers that a plan is offered for balancing governmental interests and First Amendment rights against a backdrop of a particularly tenuous period of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

And, finally, in the Fifth chapter, “From Margins to Mainstream: The Changing Street Art Scenario in Delhi,” Jauhari demonstrates how street art development is engaging the citizens and government agencies by conveying the message through it and fostering the future of street art concerning the upcoming urban (re)developments within the city of Delhi. As street art in urban areas is an effective visual communication medium and contributes to a sense of belonging, along with adding a unique character to the urban space, the author argues the intervention of the non-government organizations (NGOs) as “agents of change” in Delhi’s street art scenario. Jauhari argues that street art that was earlier considered as an act of vandalism is now witnessed beyond the building facades and boundary walls, widely accepted and celebrated not only by the citizens but also by various government organizations, which are commissioning artists to work on the government buildings. Jauhari emphasizes that these works of art not just aesthetically rejuvenate the urban space but also, in many cases, communicate the current urban, social, economic, political, and environmental issues that plague the society and the city.

The second section of this volume explores various ways in which spaces and places are changed and transformed through communicative practice, as well as how space and place function as media for communicating change and influencing interaction. The specific cases of urban change taken up in these chapters offer a compelling testament to the fact that the seemingly solid and static material features of our built environments are subject to vagaries of flux and transition. Each of these contributions approaches issues of urban transformation through a uniquely communicative lens, demonstrating ways in which changes in space and place are entangled with cultural, symbolic, ←5 | 6→and narrative processes. The chapters in this section offer an international application of urban communication scholarship to cities around the world, indicating both the particular experiences of emplaced communities as well as global themes of urban change.

Summary

Today, the world is facing climate change, wealth inequality, housing crises, food shortages, mass migration, and now a global health pandemic. Cities are at the heart of both these problems and their solutions. Urban communication scholars are well-poised to examine the change initiatives that are both caused and inspired by such complex problems. This volume provides a collection of urban communication research focused on how examining change through the lens of communication provides unique processual understandings of cities as dynamic sites formed through the interplay between concrete cases and conceptual ideas. The first section, Change through Institutional Intervention, addresses how diverse societal institutions—including policy, regulation, planning, and voluntary arts—interplay with changes in our urban communities. The second section, Change in Place and through Space, explores various ways in which spaces and places are able to transform through communicative practice, specifically focusing on how space and place provide unique frames for communicating change and influencing interaction in cities. The third section, Change through Participation and Engagement, collectively draws attention to the ways that public participation and engagement are utilized in cities in ways that enhance the communication both within and about them, focusing specifically on how this happens globally in teaching and learning environments, community planning partnerships, industrial site redevelopment projects, and approaches to food sovereignty in urban agricultural initiatives.

Details

Pages
XVI, 338
ISBN (PDF)
9781433181580
ISBN (ePUB)
9781433181597
ISBN (MOBI)
9781433181603
ISBN (Book)
9781433181573
Language
English
Publication date
2021 (March)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2021. XVI, 338 pp., 12 b/w ill., 7 tables.

Biographical notes

erin daina mcclellan (Volume editor) Yongjun Shin (Volume editor) Curry Chandler (Volume editor)

erin daina mcclellan (Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder) is Associate Professor at Boise State University.. Yongjun Shin (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor at Bridgewater State University. Curry Chandler (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is a Visiting Instructor at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Title: Urban Communication Reader IV