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Communicative Cities in the 21st Century

The Urban Communication Reader III


Matthew D. Matsaganis, Victoria J. Gallagher and Susan J. Drucker

This book explores the concept of the «communicative city», developed initially by participants in an international Urban Communication Foundation initiative, by bringing together scholars from across the communication arts and sciences seeking to enhance our understanding of the dynamic relationship between urban residents and their social, physical, mediated, and built environments. The chapters are arranged in categories that speak to two larger themes: first, they all speak to at least one aspect of the qualifying and/or disqualifying characteristics of a communicative city. A second, larger theme is what we might refer to as a master trope of the urban experience and, indeed, of urban communication: inside/outside. The research presented here represents social scientific and humanistic approaches to communication, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and positivist/normative and interpretive orientations, thereby providing a deeper understanding of the multi-level phenomena that unfold in urban communities.
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Afterword: Cross-Currents Inside and Outside the Communicative City




Crosscurrents Inside and Outside the Communicative City

Gene Burd

This afterword is an epilogue to enlarge the perspective of readers and applaud atypical approaches to the study of communication in the urban setting. This critique both applauds and challenges new and often un-studied research avenues in research about cities, while chiding and scolding established and traditional approaches. The authors’ heavy focus on the study of place is put in the context of their lesser focus on public policies related to inside and outside counter forces involved in change management in urban communities.

The city, by its nature, is a communication system rather than a separate and static entity, object, or medium that somehow consciously or incidentally acts, is acted upon, or decides to communicate. Whether a city can qualify as “communicative” is a judgment and evaluation as to whether its actions and ends are positive or negative as viewed by both those inside and outside of the urban experience, and also the study of an individual city or cities in general.

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