Mission & Purpose

The Urban Communication Foundation: Mission and Purpose

The Urban Communication Foundation was founded in 2005 as a not-for-profit (501 (c) 3) organization to promote and support research in urban communication, sponsor special seminars and special events, encourage young scholars, and reward outstanding contributions and perspectives.

Our Mission and Core Assumptions. The overarching mission of The Urban Communication Foundation is to (i) promote research that enhances society’s understanding of communication patterns in the urban environment; (ii) encourage collaboration between communication scholars, urban planners, and policy makers; (iii) support diverse research strategies; and (iv) recognize noteworthy scholarship in all related domains.

Our work in pursuit of the foregoing objectives is predicated upon a number of core assumptions, including the belief that traditional mass media channels continue to play a crucial part in the lives of residents and strongly influence their roles as citizens and neighbors. There is little doubt that the accelerated impact of communication technology is altering the relationship of community and neighborhood, or that the nature of the urban-suburban-rural transect has radically changed and redefined the values we apply to place and relationships. In short, the single most important principle that guides our work is that communication is the keystone of interaction and daily life; the city is a complex context that shapes, and is shaped by, communication.

More specifically, we assume the following in respect of urban communication:

  • Many cities are increasing in size and population.
  • Some cities face a crisis in depopulation.
  • City and urban values are important.
  • Face-to-face interaction maintains its primacy, but the importance of virtual interaction continues to rise.
  • Many social and civic functions are being redistributed from public space to virtual space.
  • Apparent differential values exist between cities and suburbs.
  • Suburban values are having an increasingly important impact upon the city.
  • Communication technology alters human values and expectations.
  • All communication devices connect and disconnect simultaneously.
  • Technological change is not reversible: the challenge is to choreograph communication technology while preserving an older set of traditional values of human interaction.

Our Purpose. We focus our organizational efforts on identifying, supporting, and rewarding scholarly investigation and professional work that is consistent with our mission goals. Research and its application are at the heart of those efforts. In evaluating such work, we determine to what extent communication serves as the primary and unifying element framing the research and its application.
Our ultimate purpose is threefold:

  • To promote research that helps us understand communication patterns in the urban-suburban environment;
  • To promote the application of research by design, policy, and administrative sectors (recognizing that research in urban communication is inextricably linked to urban policy and design); and
  • To promote civic and social engagement within a technological age.