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The Communication Ecology of 21st Century Urban Communities


Edited By Yong-Chan Kim, Matthew D. Matsaganis, Holley A. Wilkin and Joo-Young Jung

The Communication Ecology of 21st Century Urban Communities addresses the questions of whether it (still) matters what neighborhood individuals live in and if it is still necessary and possible for city dwellers to build and maintain place-based communities.

The book’s contributors address how urban communities are formed, reformed, and transformed from a communication infrastructure theory perspective. Through the lens of this theory, communication is defined as a fundamental social process by which cities are sustained and changed over time. The chapters in this book elaborate the theoretical and methodological frameworks of the communication infrastructure theory approach; articulate theory-driven and multi-method frameworks for the study of the city; and speak to pressing, contemporary, research- and policy-related challenges (or questions).

The broad array of issues addressed within this volume is expected to draw the interest not only of communication researchers and professionals, but also of students, scholars, practitioners, and policymakers from a variety of backgrounds and with an interest in different aspects of life in the city, including: public health, technology, civic engagement, and urban planning and design.

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Epilogue: Emerging Issues and Future Directions (Matthew D. Matsaganis / Holley A. Wilkin / Joo-Young Jung / Yong-Chan Kim)


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Emerging Issues and Future Directions


In the Prologue, Sandra Ball-Rokeach challenged communication researchers by asking, “How do we mobilize communication forces to create grounded bridges or structures that bring racial/ethnic communities together in common cause while maintaining their unique socio-cultural forms (the classical part/whole challenge)?” The research in this book begins to provide answers to this pressing question, but also others salient to urban dwellers today. A trend toward urbanization is forecasted to remain strong for at least 50 more years. How the places we inhabit—and especially cities—impact our lives, and how, in turn, humans shape the urban environment has intensified across the social sciences, and in the field of communication more specifically. Increasingly, policymakers are seeking solutions to cities’ problems that are informed by research. And the good news is that methodological innovations have made it easier to study and understand our inherently complex urban ecosystems. This volume adds to the growing body of evidence that supports the argument that communication research has and can continue to contribute to our understanding of how cities evolve, how urban communities come together to define and solve common problems, and what opportunities and challenges stakeholders in urban communities face in attempting to do so. ← 237 | 238 →

Key Contributions of the Volume

We can identify at least four important contributions of the...

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