This study investigates public information as a component of the democratic process, advancing previous frameworks by considering information as a spatial product of multiple governmental and civil society organizations. The symbolic weight of information campaigns is a critical component of two democratic processes: awareness of the public's vulnerability to formal water policy change and the perception within the public that the policy space is open to their participation. This research examines the locations of water-centered public information across 31 organizations in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The patterns of disparities found in the study indicate that the neighborhoods in the eastern portion of the study region receive more information than those in Phoenix or cities to the west. There is also more information in areas with large numbers of rental homes, but less information in regions with larger Latino populations. Results support a need to evaluate new initiatives for public information with respect to the content and distribution of materials originating from multiple sources. Evaluating the patterns created by water information providers could aid more strategic coordination among groups and provide a bellwether of whether public interests are adequately considered in local water decision-making processes and the distribution of outcomes.
Research Article|October 17 2012
Spatial interactions between organizations and the symbolic landscapes created by their public information campaigns
Bethany B. Cutts; Spatial interactions between organizations and the symbolic landscapes created by their public information campaigns. Water Policy 1 February 2013; 15 (1): 61–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wp.2012.059
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