Top-Down, Bottom-Up and Lateral: A Framework for Planning Communication

 
9780988429307: Top-Down, Bottom-Up and Lateral: A Framework for Planning Communication
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Terry Wroblewski, graduate of Cornell University, spent nine years researching communication methods used by regional planners who worked for government agencies, corporations, non-profit organizations and private firms. Research identified three separate and distinct methods for public communication: top-down, bottom-up and lateral. Each communication type has an applicable or reasonable use in one or more phases of planning. Top-down communication is controlled by an institution that retains full agency over its message and distribution. The term top-down means of or relating to a hierarchical structure or process that progresses from a large, basic unit to smaller, detailed subunits. Top-down messages travel in one direction: from the institution to the people. Bottom-up refers to public communication whereby the communicative agency shifts from the institution to the people. Bottom-up pertains to or originates with non-professionals, the common people or lower ranks of an organization. Bottom-up communication travels in one direction: from the people to the institution. Lateral communication provides for a third, wider reaching model - a communication style without privilege: all parties engage at an equal level. Lateral communication travels back and forth, to and from the people, institution and stakeholders. It is a participatory process providing an alternative form and function for democratic practice, social understanding and civic efficacy. This book unveils some of Wroblewski’s findings in a historic narrative that tells the history of documentary film in western democratic nations 1870-1970. It was during those formative years that public communication evolved alongside documentary films and shaped our world. Studying information in this book provides a practical understanding for anyone who communicates in the public realm. This includes creating effective messages as well as being more thoughtful about public and private media. What is documentary film’s significance? A simple answer lies in film’s ability to reach audiences both literate and illiterate. It also lies in film’s power to persuade. Cinemas of this study are national and serve a larger ideological purpose, to understand how democratic governments use film to consolidate culture and promote hegemony. The films reflect unique paradigms and are important cultural artifacts, many with a world audience. Studying these films adds to the rich tapestry of history, providing insight into the political climate of the time as well as how norms and beliefs were encouraged. For this reason, government documentary films are worthy of investigation.

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About the Author:

Terry Renay Wroblewski holds a Master Degree in Regional Planning from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York and a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Planning from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Wroblewski began studying film in 1995 at the University of Utah and continued film studies during her graduate work at Cornell University. Wroblewski graduated from the University of Utah as Outstanding Undergraduate in the Urban Planning Program and was nominated Utah Representative to the Presidential Roundtable in 2001. She received Phi Kappa Phi, Gamma Theta Upsilon, and Golden Key awards. In 1995, Terry researched and authored a rhetorical survey and critical analysis, How to Convey Sensitive Information Effectively, about the Tooele Army Depot, the Utah Chemical Ammunitions Restoration Program, and the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). Parts of this study were incorporated into public information booklets as well as other communications and training materials. Terry served as planning intern to the Utah Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Salt Lake City, Utah. There she completed the 1998 Utah Tomorrow Annual Report and presented it to legislative standing committees, it became the Utah State Plan. While attending Cornell, Terry served as a teaching assistant in the graduate real estate program and interned with Ithaca Neighborhood Housing. She co-authored "From NIMBY to Neighbor: Affordable Housing Development in Tompkins County, NY" and "Musical Chairs: The High Stakes Game of Affordable Housing in Tompkins County." Terry served as Community Planner for the Bureau of Planning, City of Rochester, New York researching and modeling a comprehensive participatory land-use process that engaged citizens in the planning process. For the city, she also developed and delivered capacity-building programs to neighborhood nonprofits. Terry worked as programs manager and developer for ACCORD, A Center for Dispute Resolution, in Binghamton, New York, while writing her thesis. She ran eleven contract services primarily funded by the New York Unified Court System. There she furthered her skills as a large-group facilitator and earned a certificate in community mediation. Terry serves several non-profit boards and founded The Art of Praxis, Inc., Fairport, New York, a 501(c)(3) organization to coordinate planners, academics, artisans, and filmmakers for education, democratic engagement, and empowerment.

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