Dias y Flores Community Garden


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Dias y Flores Community Garden

  1. 1. Reporters’ book A guide for design- based ethnographic research Dias y Flores Community Garden
  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 does it happens? What benefits does it bring to the neighborhood? The community garden acts as a meeting place for the block/ neighborhood. Members are required to abide by the rules and respect others. When any type of problem emerges, they hold a meeting and attempt to solve the problem or have a representative/ director from the board introduce it at the next meeting. Their goal is to change the atmosphere of the neighborhood, to represent it as a social gathering place, and to give members an incentive to be active. They schedule many activities such as dance parties and annual swap sales to help achieve their goal. These events change the atmosphere while encouraging people to interact with neighbors more often. 1.2 Context What is this neighborhood like? How was it before this new solution took place? The garden is located on 13th Street between Avenue A and B. The neighborhood is relatively quiet and not very crowded. However, there are many bars and nightclubs around the area which causes the neighborhood to be inactive during day times. Previously the land had been occupied by two buildings in the 1970s. However, after the two buildings were bulldozed, the park was created in the place.
  4. 4. 1.3 History of the initiative How did the project/initiative start? Who took the initiative? Why? Can you describe a timeline of events, highlighting success and failure aspects, major milestones? How far can you go back? How did this initiative mature? How did it turn to be a real enterprise? (registered, formalized etc.) Did it receive public or private support of any kind? Did it help change the public or policy structure? Once an occupied building, abandoned in early 1970s, it fell prey to disrepair and drug trades; it was sleazed by the city and eventually torn down in 1976. 1978013th St. Block Association envisioned in its place a community garden and began clearing the land. Most trees were planted in 1981 by experienced gardeners. In 1998, patio for events were built with support of Trust for Public Land. Lots of craft classes, musical events, and seasonal parties were held. A citizen’s committee grant allowed funding solar powered pond rain water collection system. The garden was named after a song by Silvio Rodguez. 1.4 Main actors Who are the users of this initiative? Who are the promoters of this initiative? Is there a difference between users and promoters or are they basically the same? Describe users and promoters lifestyles? Do the users work as a group or groups? Is there a network of related organizations and/or individuals? Do they have any form of connection or exchange with other similar initiatives? Was the group inspired by other examples? Do you know counter examples, (of service ideas that did not take-off), cases that went wrong? According to members, no ‘manager’ or ‘administrator’ exists in the garden. A board of voted directors maintains the direction and timeframe of the garden. Orchestrating involves yearly events, the budget, and several other plans including regulations. All users are thus responsible, which makes the promoters the users. Many members consists of family. However, it seemed like most of the main users were retired males. They meet frequently in the garden and help leading each other managing the garden. Official meetings are held twice a year. There is no connection or exchange with other community gardens.
  5. 5. 1.5. Technologies What are the technologies that the group uses? How are they used in system? One major technology the garden ‘Flores y Dias’ uses is the plant water system. They collect rain to water the plants in the garden. Otherwise, the garden is run in traditional way. Any member who has his/her own plot in the garden is free to access to the technology, and they enjoy the system and find it to be very efficient and eco-friendly. 1.6. Communication What communication materials do 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? As said earlier, the garden members hold a meeting every month to discuss any problem or suggestion that is beneficial to the garden. Information regarding upcoming events and regulation changes is exchanged at this time. Also, they have brochures to inform any prospective and current members about the history of the garden. There is a blog as well, to keep the participants updated about activities without having to come to the garden. It seems like all the members are satisfied with the current condition. However, the board members would like to get more active participants.
  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? We believe longevity is a main perspective/objective for this garden. All of the members would love to see it survive the changes that the neighborhood is eventually bound to go through, such as appearance of more bars or night clubs. Members who’ve been there since the beginning of the garden enthusiastically supports this idea. Leaving it in a traditional, old-fashioned way is what makes the garden especially attractive. Managing technique could be improved by changing the rules. For example, few problematic members who refused to follow the rules which we actually encountered, can be punished by being suspended from the garden for a certain period of time. 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)? There didn’t seem to be any specific issues that ‘pose threads’ to the members. However, their prominent concern is funding for a new fence- the city cannot and will not provide funding because the the change is for aesthetic value only. They plan to apply for a grant. At the meeting we attended, they attempted to bring up the issues and systematic ways to solve them. Some resolutions didn’t seem so helpful– better communication would be improve the situation.
  7. 7. 1.9. Indications of other social innovation Do the users participate in other entrepreneurial endeavors? Do they form small initiatives on their own? Are members involved in other “sustainable” services within the community? (Ex. Food Co-op, carpooling, community gardens, etc)? Do you see evidence of wider networks that these users contribute to? The majority of the members are all-time employees in various positions from sales person to retiree. One member would bring fish from his fishing trips to grill in the garden for others voluntarily. Actions in that matter such as bringing snacks and hosting parties for everyone happens often in this garden. As far as the board knows, there isn’t any member who is involved in “sustainable” services within the community. 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) Many of information data were from observations and interviews. -Dias y Flores blog -Members at the meeting: Julie, Beth, Crover, Joanne, Everret, and Leselle—the board members. (We were unable to meet with the “manager,” Carolyn.
  8. 8. Quantitative Data Exercise How many members does the initiative have? How many are very active in the initiative? How does individual spaces compare with shared/group spaces? How many members are involved in other community-based services? (Food Co-op, activist orgs, clothes swapping, bike sharing, etc.) What is the size of the initiative in square footage?
  9. 9. Part 2: Pictures & film
  10. 10. Photo Instructions  Please take close-up detailed photos due to the winter conditions of gardens (ex. Buds, small greenery, tools, gathering spaces, colorful areas)  Photos may ONLY be taken with a high megapixel digital camera (no iphone photos or low resolution photos)  Choose highest picture quality setting that camera allows  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.
  11. 11. Photo checklist 1.Context 1.1 The general context (e.g. landscape, urban area, etc) 1.2 The close context (e.g. the neighbourhood, etc) 1.3 The place from outside (e.g. building, house, etc)   1.4 The entrance (e.g. signage, access door or gate, etc) 1.5 The place from inside (e.g. dedicated room, private places, gazebo, pond, planting areas, recreational areas, etc) 2. Participant 2.1 Two to three typical users (show them in different situations, e.g. portrait/standing, in-action, etc) 2.2 The organiser/provider (portrait/standing, in-action, etc) 2.3 Show something characteristic of the user’s motivation to participate? 2.4 Show the key participants in the service/organization (e.g. leaders, gatekeepers, organizers, connectors, innovators, etc) 3. Material Artifacts 3.1 Show communication materials of the organization (leaflets, signage, etc) 3.2 Could you show essential objects that users interact with, or that provide key moments in the service? 3.3 Could you show evidence of entrepreneurial work by users or providers? Show intangible/tangible innovations created by users or providers. 4. Benefits 4.1 Could you show participant benefits? organiser benefits? collective benefits? environmental benefits? economical benefits? 5. Perspectives for the future 5.1 Could you show the future perspectives of the solution?
  12. 12. Film guidelines 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)
  13. 13. 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