Cities as Communicative Change Agents
Edited By erin daina mcclellan, Yongjun Shin and Curry Chandler
2. Styling Sustainable Atlanta: Touring the BeltLine and Public Performances of Concordance: SCOTT TULLOCH, BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE, CUNY, U.S.
2. Styling Sustainable Atlanta: Touring the BeltLine and Public Performances of Concordance
Communicative planning has been presented as an alternative to top-down development, directed by the exclusive needs of government and private developers. Despite more inclusive public participation, development is uneven and some benefit more than others from the changing city. The Atlanta BeltLine has embraced principles of communicative planning and is one of the largest redevelopment projects underway in the United States. The BeltLine is 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. I identify rhetorical maneuvers performed by the BeltLine (its sites, materials and proponents) by participating and critiquing well-attended and publicized tours of the project. I build upon rhetorical theories of “disruptive” (Blair & Michel, 2000) and “interruptive” (Aiello, 2011) visual-material performances. I argue 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.
Keywords: urban renewal, Atlanta, BeltLine, concordance, material performances, touring, rhetoric, style, figures, communicative planning
There has been a “communicative turn” in urban planning...
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