Green Oasis Community Garden


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Green Oasis Community Garden

  1. 1. Reporters’ book Green Oasis Community Garden A guide for design-based ethnographic research
  2. 2. Part 1: Interview
  3. 3. 1.1 Description What do they do? (Description of service idea, e.g. a community garden, a food coop, etc). What are the demands/problems this initiative responds to? What is the aim of the initiative? What happens and how it happens? What benefits does it bring to the neighborhood? Large community garden that allows for communication between community members who may never have spoken before (ex. Tim and Pam knew each other before both joining the garden. Pam worked at a book store that Tim frequented. However, the two never spoke beyond that. Once joining the garden they began to find common interests. Tim also made friends with a neighbor who lived close but never spoke to before.) The garden is sometimes used by mothers who will meet in the garden and one mother will watch children for a short amount of time while the other runs errands. To become a member: Interested people will fill out a contract and then are given keys to the garden to have 24 hour access. Member are required to work at least 8 hours a month. That garden is run democratically, they have open meetings where every one can contribute. The garden has many bird feeders, plots to grow vegetables and fruit trees. There are also beehives. This summer the group extracted wax from the hives and made lip gloss, hand balms etc. With products from the garden. Members of the garden can also hold small parties free of charger in the garden. Non-members are also welcome to have parties as well however are asked a small donation. 1.2 Context What is this neighborhood like? How was it before this new solution took place? The New York City neighborhood known as the East Village experienced massive arson and destruction during the 1960s and 1970s. The area had been compared to Dresden, Germany after World War II. Rubble from bulldozed buildings lay in mounds, and garbage accumulated. Cars were abandoned. Rats were rampant. Drug use reached epidemic proportions. Drugs and crime made the neighborhood unsafe, but few areas were worse than the neighborhood east of Avenue B.
  4. 4. 1.3 History of the initiative How did the project/initiative start? Who had the initiative? Why? Can you describe a timeline of events, highlighting success and failure aspects, major milestones? How did this initiative mature? How did it turn to be a real enterprise? Did it receive public or private support of any kind? Did it help change the public or policy structure? Normand Valle moved to East Seventh Street between Avenues C and D. From his window, he looked down upon one of these blighted lots, and decided to do something about it. In 1981, Valle, an ex-Marine, and a friend, Reynaldo Arenas, began to undo the mess one brick and one piece of garbage at a time. Thus were Green Oasis and Gilbert's Sculpture Gardens born. From the beginning, the sister gardens' mission has been to provide a safe, green haven for all people, but especially for the children who lived in that inhospitable environment. Mr. Arenas was particularly interested in the theatre, so theatrical events abounded. Plays for children were written and performed. The first generation of Nuyorican poets read poetry; music was performed; the well-known Butterfly Release ceremony was held here during the all-garden pageant The Rites of Spring until its unfortunate demise in 2006. 1.4 Main actors Who are the users? Is there a difference between users and promoters or are they basically the same? Describe users and promoters lifestyles? Is there a network of related organizations and/or individuals? Do have any form of connection or exchange with other similar initiatives? Was the group inspired by other examples? Do you know counter examples, cases that went wrong? There is no “typical user”. The user group has changed a lot over the years. With changing ethnicities in the are, community interaction with the garden has changed. From what they noticed the area has changed to mostly bengali, latino and asian. The new group of people seem a little less engaged with the garden. Tim mentioned that he would notice people peeking into the garden but would often not enter. Typically every year there may be about 20 people interested in participating, maybe 15 sign up, 5 participate a little and then only 1 or 2 become contributing members. There is about 60 members total and only about 15% participate in collective work. (Sweep main path ways, pick up trash etc.) Others just care for a small plot.
  5. 5. 1.5. Technologies What are the technologies that the group uses? How are they used in system? List serve, Blog, Web Page, Mailing List, Phone List, Emailing. 1.6. Communication What communication materials does the group have? (e.g. website, brochures, postcards, etc). What is the main purpose of these materials? e.g. to keep participants updated about activities (internal communication) or to get more participants (external communication)? Does the group want to have more participants? Garden uses flyers to recruit new members and advertise workshops. Flyers put in: health food stores, laundromats, schools and libraries.
  6. 6. 1.7. Perspective for the future What are the perspective/objectives of the group for the next 3-5 years? What are some of the success factors and possible risks in the short medium and long term? More kids workshops, Acquire water and electric for the garden. 1.8. Problems and opportunities Are there any specific issues/problems/barriers that pose threats to the initiative? Are there any main areas of concern among the participants (leaders and users alike)? Are there any opportunities that could be explored (that are currently not explored)?
  7. 7. 1.9. Indications of other social innovation Do members of the organization also partake in other entrepreneurial endeavors? Do they form small initiatives on their own? Are members of your organization part of a “creative community”? Are members involved in other “sustainable” services within the community? (Ex. Food Co-op, carpooling, community gardens, etc) Tim lives in a Co-op building next to the garden. It is mostly filled with low income residents. He often cook a little extra food for people in the building, or makes coffee. He has a few sets of keys he will lend to people in the building, for example if some one is locked out of their apartment he will let them stay in his. Tim also mentioned that he often leaves for the summer, he will let people in the building stay in his apartment while the people visiting will have their guests stay in their apartment. 1.10. References Website of the initiative Interviewee name and contact information (email, address, phone number) Other references (websites, articles, other people we should talk to) Tim Pam Need to speak more to: Tim 8th St between Ave. C & D
  8. 8. Part 2: Pictures & film
  9. 9. Photo Instructions Photos MUST be at least 600 resolution Photos may ONLY be taken with a high megapixel digital camera (no iphone photos or low resolution photos) Always ASK permission before taking photos or footage of people and/or spaces See Release Form on the final page of this document. You MUST have Release Form(s) signed by the photo/footage subject.
  10. 10. 1.Context The general context (i.e. landscape, urban area, …)
  11. 11. 1.Context The close context (i.e. the neighbourhood, …)
  12. 12. 1.Context The place from outside (i.e. building, house…)  
  13. 13. 1.Context The entrance (i.e. signage, access door, …)
  14. 14. 1.Context The place from inside (i.e. dedicated room, private place, …)
  15. 15. 2. Participant 2-3 typical users (portrait/standing, in-action…)
  16. 16. 2. Participant An organiser/provider (portrait/standing, in-action, …)
  17. 17. 2. Participant Could you show something characteristic of user motivation to participate?
  18. 18. 2. Participant Could you show key participants in the service/organization? Who are the leaders, gatekeepers, organizers, connectors, innovators, etc.?
  19. 19. 3. Material Artifacts Could you show communication materials of the service/ organization?
  20. 20. 3. Material Artifacts Could you show essential objects that users interact with, or that provide key moments in the service?
  21. 21. 3. Material Artifacts Could you show evidence of entrepreneurial work by users or providers? Show intangible/tangible innovations created by users or providers.
  22. 22. 4. Could you show Could you show participant benefits? organiser benefits? collective benefits? environmental benefits? economical benefits?
  23. 23. 4. Could you show Could you show the future perspectives of the solution?
  24. 24. Film Please take footage of the following: The person/people you are interviewing. Ask them to introduce themselves, their role in the organization, and a brief description of the organization (30 sec) A brief history of the organization (15-30 sec) A typical activity taking place in the space including participants of the organization (30 sec-1 min) Participants of the organization interacting with each other (30 sec) Participants of the organization interacting with the space/props/ objects (30 sec)
  25. 25. General Release It is hereby agreed by and between the parties that this document shall constitute a general release authorizing Parsons The New School to use the photographs, statements and video of the undersigned subject in perpetuity, without any compensation. It is also understood that the photographs, statements and/or videos are to be, and may be, used by Parsons for photographic displays, exhibits, on institution’s website, and the like, or for inclusion in any brochures, advertisements, newspapers, newsletters or any similar activities including print, television or electronic media, at the discretion of Parsons The New School. It is further understood by and between both parties to this agreement that the undersigned subject is not to be compensated for the use of said materials by Parsons The New School. The execution of this document constitutes a waiver of any rights to compensation now or in the future. It is further understood by and between both parties to this agreement that this written document constitutes the sum total of all discussions, negotiations and agreements had with respect to this release, and that this document, when executed, represents the entire agreement and understanding between the parties; any agreement or understanding not contained in this document is specifically and categorically denied. Date: ______________ ____________________ Subject _____________________ Witness