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Integrating our nation’s diversity: Exploring the roles of multimedia in fostering multicultural participation, Volume 3: Communication media technologies

Mahdjoubi, Lamine; Moobela, Cletus


Lamine Mahdjoubi


This report is the third in the series of reports on the potential of multimedia in fostering multicultural participation in planning decision-making processes. The aim of the report is to present an array of the key media communication technologies. This is a descriptive, and not a technical report. It therefore does not put any emphasis on the detailed technological issues as could be discussed from the point of view of savvy media engineers/technicians. Thus issues about technicalities of how TV programmes, for instance, are prepared and ‘aired’ to the audience are beyond the scope of this report. An attempt is made in the report to explore the application of these communication media technologies into planning participation.
Communication media technologies have a rich and long history dating as far back as several thousands of years BC. Perhaps the starting point is the era of speech and language about 40,000 BC (DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach, 1989). Although speech is arguably not a technology, its importance lies in it being a forerunner of technologies that were later developed – voice came to be unified with other technologies to develop, for instance, telephone, TV and film. The key communication media technologies discussed in the report include, in no chronological order of invention: telephone; radio; television; film; images; the print media; and the more recent computer and the internet (see DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach, 1989; Brody, 1990; Manvell, 1966; Flichy, 1995).
Latest technologies enable the combination of telephone with other media technologies, making it one of the most widely used means of contemporary, private and individual communication today. With the advent of interactive websites, telephone can be used as a complementary medium in planning participation. For example, a telephone can be used in a ‘computer-linked voting’ system where views of the community are sought through a combination of telephone and a computer. Telephone can also be combined with radio communication such as in phone in programmes where members of the public participate in discussions on selected topics.
Continued technological breakthroughs in television have changed the way viewers watch TV. Viewers now have much more variety in terms of what they watch on TV and are moving away from multiple, controlled broadcast to video on demand, from theme channels to new interactive services like teleshopping, video games etc. In terms of communication with deprived neighbourhoods, TV seems to be one of the most accessible means of communication among the disadvantaged societies (UNESCO, 2005; Phelan, 1991). The advantage of TV over radio is that information recipients can not only listen to but can also watch the programmes.
The emergence of the computer in the 1970s and later the internet is perhaps the most profound invention in the information communication technology (ICT) history. Accuracy and speed of communication have undergone manifold leaps. Computer conferencing, e-mail/internet, data base (re)search, etc are the means through which people communicate by using the computer. In the UK, interactive websites have already gained a considerable level of manifestation in local authorities, heralded by the Modernisation of Local Government agenda.
Multimedia, defined as a technological system that is able to transmit and run interactive programs that combine image, text and audio, is making hasty inroads in many spheres of society. The key advantage of multimedia is interactivity and its capability to cater for the various requirements of users. Two examples of multimedia tools (Collaborative Planning System and MetroQuest) are given in the report to highlight the benevolent effects of using such media techniques in encouraging multicultural participation in planning decision-making processes.

Report Type Research Report
Publication Date 2007
Deposit Date Dec 5, 2022
Publisher University of the West of England
ISBN 978-1-86043-402-0
Public URL