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Urban Communication Reader IV

Cities as Communicative Change Agents


Edited By erin daina mcclellan, Yongjun Shin and Curry Chandler

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.
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9. Baseball Fields of Care: Urban Sportscapes, Neighborhood Change, and the Gentrification of Commemorative Space: CURRY CHANDLER, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, U.S.


9. Baseball Fields of Care: Urban Sportscapes, Neighborhood Change, and the Gentrification of Commemorative Space



Sports participation and spectatorship constitute powerful affective bonds that may support the development of communities and publics. The commemoration of sport history and related ritual activities may also serve as the basis for collective memory and identity formation at a variety of territorial scales, such as the nation, city, or neighborhood. In this chapter, I examine tensions around commemorative sites and histories of racial and spatial injustice in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Drawing on perspectives from communication, rhetoric, and human geography I analyze three salient sites of baseball history and memorialization that are linked with legacies of racial segregation in professional sports. This analysis calls attention to the privileged place that baseball history occupies in narratives of American identity, and the role that baseball stadia have played in urban development initiatives. I argue that patterns of commemorative spatialization within neoliberal urbanism constitute a continual failure to register and reconcile historical narratives of racial marginalization in U.S. cities, and further deprive members of marginalized urban communities of affective bonds to spaces of commemoration.

Keywords: material rhetoric, public memory, sports, gentrification, commemoration, affect, vernacular history, community identity

The U.S. city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania presents a salient context in which to consider not only baseball history at large but the sport’s era of racial segregation and eventual integration in particular. Pittsburgh’s Black...

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