Shaping urban consolidation debates: Social representations in Brisbane newspaper media

Raynor, Katrina, Matthews, Tony, & Mayere, Severine (2016) Shaping urban consolidation debates: Social representations in Brisbane newspaper media. Urban Studies. (In Press)

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Recent international trends towards urban consolidation, intended to reduce outward urban sprawl by concentrating growth within existing neighbourhoods, can cause contention in cities. Understanding how the mass media represents urban consolidation can lead to more informed and democratic planning practices. This paper employs Social Representations Theory to identify and understand representations of urban consolidation in newspaper media. The theory recognises that the media is a key purveyor of public discourse and can reflect, shape or suppress ideas circulating in society. This novel approach has not previously been applied to understanding social representations of urban consolidation strategies in the mass media. The rapidly growing and changing city of Brisbane, Australia, is utilised as a case study. Brisbane is situated in South East Queensland, the fastest growing region in Australia, and is governed by regional and local planning policies that strongly support increased densities in existing urban areas. Findings from a quantitative textual analysis of 449 articles published in Brisbane newspapers between 2007 and 2014 reveal key clusters and classes of co-occurring words that represent dominant social representations apparent in the newspaper corpus. The paper provides two key conclusions. The first is that social representations occurring in mass media represent an important source of information about ‘common sense’ understandings and evaluations of urban consolidation debates. The second is that urban consolidation is represented as a ultifaceted issue, including interrelated themes of housing,sustainable population growth, investment strategies and the interplay between politics and planning

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ID Code: 92552
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Brisbane, Media analysis, Pragmatic textual analysis, Social representations, Urban consolidation
DOI: 10.1177/0042098015624385
ISSN: 1360-063X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Urban Studies Journal Limited
Deposited On: 02 Feb 2016 00:49
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2016 05:26

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