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Communicative Cities in the 21st Century

The Urban Communication Reader III


Edited By 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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3 Communicative Spaces and Rhetorical Enactments:How and Why Urban Parks Enhance (or Fail to Enhance) Civic Life

Inside/Outside and the Urban Experience



Communicative Spaces and Rhetorical Enactments

How and Why Urban Parks Enhance (or Fail to Enhance) Civic Life

Victoria J. Gallagher, Kenneth Zagacki, & Kelly Norris Martin

In his recent book, titled City of Rhetoric, David Fleming (2008) argues that the “physical organization of our neighborhoods, cities, and metropolitan areas” affects communication because it affects “the ways we represent our histories to one another, render and negotiate our differences, and determine together our future” (p. xi). Similarly, in laying out the case for their notion of “communicative cities,” Gumpert and Drucker (2008) argue that “the nature, function, and identity of the city are defined…by [the] process of communication and its impact on place. Communication availability, images, infrastructure, policy and regulation all define a city and population as well” (p. 196). Both of these projects have in common an emphasis on the communicative and political necessity of public spaces for interaction. Fleming makes this case most directly, arguing that “in a world without cities—populous, dense, diverse, open, centered—the exercise of politics turns out to be difficult to stage, even to comprehend. To revive such an activity, we would need first to revive our cities, to design, build, and sustain places where ordinary people can come into daily contact with diverse, free others and learn to collaboratively manage the world they hold in common” (Fleming, 2008, p. xiv). Both of these scholarly projects also emphasize the dangers of repressive and...

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