The Talk of the Town: Metaphor, Stories and Discourse in Land Use Planning

By Dorothy Ives Dewey.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper looks at the nature of communication in local land use planning processes and practice. The planning and development process is awash in “talk.” The norms of speech differ from one setting to another. Metaphors and stories provide systems of meaning wherein parties to complex interactive processes can make sense of the flow of events. Stories serve to formulate the collective memory of events, they lay out the context of the events and the decisions, and they serve to create an understanding of “place” and how it is constructed. Using data from a detailed case study of land development activities in an edge city in the Philadelphia region, this paper looks at the nature of discourse and limits to discursive practice. Local planning processes in this rapidly changing environment have struggled to cope with the interplay between urban change, regional demands and local needs. This paper looks at the nature of communication in planning processes and the limits to discursive practice. The way space is produced and consumed and the way it is read and understood by planners, policy makers, interest groups and developers presents limits to collaborative planning. Effective collaboration requires meaningful discourse and debate to uncover and reveal understanding. The findings suggest implications for planners and planning practice.

Keywords: Planning, Land Use, Communication

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.181-188. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 551.760KB).

Dr. Dorothy Ives Dewey

Assistant Professor, Geography & Planning Department, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA

Dorothy Ives Dewey is a Assistant Professor in the Geography and Planning Department at West Chester University. Her primary research interests concern land use planning processes.

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