I am a “multipotentialite” interested in experimental methodologies, and participatory action research. I have experience in qualitative research methods (practiced in my master thesis: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/o41ywfxi0omqdnq/AAC9wG3fRnC042ZsNpZLArXPa?dl=0) and quantitative data analysis (through my work as a research assistant in 10 Tooba: http://marsadomran.info/en/policy_analysis/urban-en/2016/11/501/. I aim through my research & work to take values into action by connecting socio-spatial justice, human rights, enablement, sustainable development, and community empowerment, with urban planning, design, policies, environmental planning, history, and academia. This stems from my intellectual urge to study analytical research towards theory building from a cross-border prespective.
Intersection of space, media, and justice.
This dissertation focuses on the intersection between the visualization of urban visions and the spatialization of justice in the mediatized world, making four original contributions to knowledge. First, it reflects on how urbanization is co-constructed through the use of media and visualizations in planning. Second, it widens the understanding of planning visualizations by linking them with literature on urban studies, media studies, justice and critical policy. Third, it proposes a mid-range theory of Spatio-Visual injustice, which suggests an interdisciplinary contribution to planning theory. Fourth, it adds to cumulative research methods and theory building methodologies through the use of papers as data.
Addressing the problem of exclusive visualization of planning in the mediatized world, planning visualizations are understood as façades that obscure power asymmetries and matters of justice, revealing the political economy of cities. Taking Cairo as a glocal case, the study interrogates how urban planning becomes communicated and visualized in the maintenance of the prevailing political and economic agendas of the ruling elite. The research fills three gaps in the literature regarding the ways in which planning visualizations relate to, reflect, and re-construct (1) the planning of cities, (2) the roles of actors involved in the planning communicative situations, and (3) the urban environment.
I posit that the rise of digitalization and mediatization, and its effect on visualizations of the urban, creates a need to explore the ways in which the visual can create a problem of social and spatial justice. Therefore, the study's purpose is to develop a ground-up understanding of how and why planning visualizations in the mediatized world become a question of social and spatial justice. To this end, the mediatization of urban planning is explored through an examination of its products (planning visualizations) and its process (media tools employed to produce these visualizations) via a cumulative dissertation of five papers. Each paper presents a communicative situation among planners or between them and others. Starting with planning education, the papers move onto planning practice, politics, context, and culture.
Adopting a mixed-methods approach, cases of planning visualizations were analyzed within the papers. After the papers, a first layer of cumulative analysis showed that there are multiple metaphorical ‘cities' made 'visible' in the different situations: the Academized City, the Professionalized City, the Propagatized City, the Marketized City, and the Normatized City. In all the situations, exclusive planning visualizations were employed, exposing the views of actors with 'privileged/ powerful versus 'underprivileged/ powerless' power positions. The first layer demonstrated that a theoretical gap still remained. Thereafter, a second layer of cumulative analysis was undertaken; proposing a cumulative theory building process that makes use of the analytic techniques of the grounded theory method in conjunction with retroductive reasoning logic, to move from the papers as data towards constructing a mid-range theory that explains the entanglement of planning visualizations and justice.
I argue that a theory of Spatio-Visual Injustice exists in which planning visualizations provoke the perpetuation of exclusivity in planning and cities; thereby co-constructing spatio-visual injustice. Spatio-visual injustice is thus exemplified via exclusive planning visualizations, defined as the inquiry of 'who and what is made visible by whom, how, and why'. Practically, it represents the ratio of what is represented visually versus what is lived spatially and how each is mediatized through planning visualizations. The main proposition of this theory is simply that what (visually) provokes, perpetuates.
It is suggested that it is not the visualizing planning per se, but rather the provocation of exclusive planning visualizations that leads different participants in the different communicative situations to perpetuate exclusivity. In this process, exclusive planning visualizations affect and change the planning process, the role of other actors, and the lived Ordinary cities. It follows, that whilst originally used as tools, exclusive visualizations become powerful participants/actors in the planning communicative situations.