Community stakeholders, communicative geography, and the urban policy process

Kevin Keenan, Mahbubur Meenar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We situate this paper within the geographies of policy, and we draw from the Discipline of Planning to conceptualize policy analysis as a communicative act. Blending such ideas with geographical concepts leads us to a place ontology, which recognizes that the policymaker’s life world is rooted in place and thus influences how that person makes professional decisions. We explore these concepts via in-depth, in-person interviews with 15 non-profit/community stakeholders in an exceptionally poor and environmentally distressed community in Philadelphia (USA). Our data provide insight into a subset of the policy-making community, while our results advance understanding of how policy analysis is conducted. This paper demonstrates that the current public policy process ignores an important feature of analysis (i.e., place ontology)–especially when studying a distressed community for which existing methods of analysis may be poorly suited–while simultaneously providing guidance on how to correct this deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUrban Geography
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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