Urban Communication| Multi- and Mixed-Methods Approaches to Urban Communication Research: A Synthesis and the Road Ahead
Interest in how the places we inhabit—and especially cities—impact our lives and how, in turn, humans shape the urban environment has intensified in the past 15 years across the social sciences, and in communication more specifically. An urbanization trend forecast to remain strong for at least 50 more years is fueling this interest, as are the growing appeals among policy makers for solutions to cities’ problems that are informed by research and for methodological innovations that enable the study of inherently complex urban ecosystems. This context has fostered efforts to develop multimethod and mixed-methods approaches to the study of the city. This article describes the strengths, challenges, and models of such research designs. I review the multimethod and mixed-methods communication research that has focused on the city, identify key themes and problematics that this literature has addressed, discuss theoretical orientations guiding this work, analyze research designs employed, and identify gaps that future communication-centered research on the urban condition should address.