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Why Mass Media Matter to Planning Research: The Case of Megaprojects

Journal of Planning Education and Research, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 169-181.

14 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2013 Last revised: 18 Feb 2014

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Date Written: April 1, 2012

Abstract

This article asks how planning scholarship may effectively gain impact in planning practice through media exposure. In liberal democracies, the public sphere is dominated by mass media. Therefore, working with such media is a prerequisite for effective public impact of planning research. Using the example of megaproject planning, it is illustrated how so-called “phronetic planning research”, which explicitly incorporates in its methodology active and strategic collaboration with media, may be helpful in generating change in planning practice via the public sphere. Main lessons learned are as follows: (1) working with mass media is an extremely cost-effective way to increase the impact of planning scholarship on practice; (2) recent developments in information technology and social media have made impact via mass media even more effective; (3) research on “tension points”, that is, points of potential conflict, are particularly interesting to media and the public, and are especially likely to generate change in practice; and (4) tension points bite back; planning researchers should be prepared for, but not afraid of this.

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Keywords: mass media, planning research, media exposure, public deliberation, megaprojects, tension points, phronesis

Suggested Citation

Flyvbjerg, Bent, Why Mass Media Matter to Planning Research: The Case of Megaprojects (April 1, 2012). Journal of Planning Education and Research, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 169-181. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2229730

Bent Flyvbjerg (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

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