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Communicative Cities in the 21st Century

The Urban Communication Reader III

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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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6 Auditing Communication Systems to Help Urban Policy Makers

Conducting an Inventory of Communication Resources

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CHAPTER SIX

Auditing Communication Systems to Help Urban Policy Makers

Leo W. Jeffres, Kimberly Neuendorf, Guowei Jian, & Kimberly S. Cooper

In many disciplines, scholarship leads to application in the form of developing “best practices.” In communication, our research and the knowledge generated have led to guidelines in public speaking, scenarios for conducting political and informational campaigns, strategies for diffusing information and training practices in organizations. But generally, relative to those in other disciplines, communication scholars have been somewhat reluctant to offer help in most areas.

Although our scholarship in urban communication is relatively recent, it would be a mistake to be bashful about offering advice and expertise to policymakers and stakeholders of our cities. There are several ways to do this. First, we can apply the theories and evidence gathered in a more general context, e.g., uses and gratifications research explaining how media use enhances community attachment and civic engagement. Second, we can conduct research that addresses specific urban issues where communication phenomena are important. And third, we can develop tools and methodologies for problem solving in cities. In any case, the key is generalizing to the urban environment as a whole, and that’s the focus of this effort: to develop a methodology that looks at a community’s communication system as a whole.

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