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Urban Communication Reader IV

Cities as Communicative Change Agents

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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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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

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14. Urban Agriculture in the City of Cali, Colombia and Communication for Social Change

SOLÓN CALERO & CARMEN C. RIVERA

Abstract:

This chapter discusses various practical urban agriculture approaches to food sovereignty in Cali, Colombia, that are embedded in one or more of five food production and distribution spheres. By examining how approaches (de)emphasize culturally situated experiences, we further discuss how participatory communication influences the possibility for social change and urban sustainability. Seeking to understand which subjectivities emerge most prominently in these agricultural practices, we summarize the outcomes of an intercultural collective convened to discuss the communication processes linked to food production and distribution.

Keywords: participatory communication, food sovereignty, subjectivities, urban agriculture, social change, communication processes, polyphonic communication

In the city of Cali, Colombia, a meaningful transformation is taking place, led by citizens who are promoting alternative relationships with food. These social actors are implementing different types of communication strategies and urban agriculture practices whose main purpose is to establish a radical rupture with the current hegemonic agribusiness model. The testimonies and experiences gathered here indicate that the viability of a local collective food sovereignty project demands the simultaneous construction of “new” urban subjects willing to rethink their connection with food. Hence, many of the participants in this study are taking drastic and innovative action aimed at changing the very relationships embedded in how they produce and distribute food on a local and global scale.

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