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The Communication Ecology of 21st Century Urban Communities

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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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Chapter Twelve: Communication Infrastructure Theory and Community-Based Program Evaluation: The Case of Media Mobilizing Project and the CAP Comcast Campaign (Garrett M. Broad)

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CHAPTER TWELVE

Communication Infrastructure Theory and Community-Based Program Evaluation

The Case of Media Mobilizing Project and the CAP Comcast Campaign

GARRETT M. BROAD

Assistant Professor, Fordham University



Introduction

A number of researchers have employed communication infrastructure theory (CIT) as a guide to develop and evaluate community-based programs and interventions. In these scholarly contexts, CIT has provided both a theoretical and empirical framework to investigate the communicative strengths and weaknesses of community change initiatives, those that aim to increase civic engagement, improve community health, bolster vital service delivery, and advance social change at the local level (Broad et al., 2013; Chen et al., 2012; Wilkin, 2013). This CIT-driven approach has often been integrated into broader processes of participatory action research, with researchers using the framework to help collaborating organizations build internal capacity to contextualize, document, assess, and refine their own organizing and implementation strategies (Matsaganis, Golden, & Scott, 2014).

The aim of this chapter is to examine the connections between CIT and what Donaldson (2007) has termed “program theory-driven evaluation.” Program theory-driven evaluation is a research perspective that uses existing social science ← 220 | 221 → theory, in conjunction with the implicit theory of collaborating organizational stakeholders, to produce knowledge, provide feedback, determine the value of social programs, and improve their overall functioning. CIT offers a valuable social science framework that can be incorporated into program theory-driven evaluation, particularly when applied to programs that...

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