Committee of poor people's of les community garden (1)


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Committee of poor people's of les community garden (1)

  1. 1. Reporters’ book A guide for design- based ethnographic research Committee of Poor People’s Lower East Side 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 garden currently serves as a social gathering space for elderly Hispanic locals. The garden is valuable to the community as many in the area do not have a outdoor space of their own. Members of the garden meet there after work during the week and in the afternoon during the weekend to chat, play cards, cook and eat. The garden is beneficial as as it solidifies the culture of the neighborhood, which due to major gentrification in the last 10 years has priced out a lot of the long term residents. 1.2 Context What is this neighborhood like? How was it before this new solution took place? The Lower East Side has been an ethnic neighborhood since the settlement of Manhattan. Initially the LES was occupied by dutch settlers, later jewsih immigrants and then in the 1960’s it became primarily a puerto rican neighborhood. In the last 10 years condos, gourmet restaurants and boutiques have come in to the area and have gentrified the LES. This has alienated many low income members of the community, due to this the garden is especially valuable to long term residence of the LES.
  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? Prior to the initiative the garden was an abandoned lot with a poorly maintained shack. The city acquired the land in the 1960’s and in 1993 it was turned into a Green Thumb community garden. It has been utilized by the local Hispanic community for more than 20 years and it was not until recently that members of the garden requested a neighbor, Wendy Weston, to help plant and improve the garden. The garden currently is privately funded by Wendy and she is searching for other donators. Unfortunately new members of the community with the financial means to help have not shown interest in participating since they already have their own recreational spaces such as roof tops and yards. 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? The users of the initiative are mainly elderly Hispanic locals and Wendy Weston. Occasionally, their families join them on weekends for barbecues an other social activities. Wendy Weston has taken upon herself to help develop the garden through her personal funding and is currently searching for outside funding.
  5. 5. 1.5. Technologies What are the technologies that the group uses? How are they used in system? Since they have only just recently started the garden renovation they do not possess any type of technologies other than shovels, hoes and raised beds but they are looking forward to developing the garden. 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? The main communication source is word of mouth. However, they stay updated with the LES community garden office and the primary members of the garden communicate with outsiders via the phone and through Wendy Weston.
  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? They intend to completely renew the garden with plants, flowers, a bocce court, vegetable garden, benches, a barbecue space and a sand pit for children to make it a pleasant and safe environment. 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)? Currently, the main obstacle for the garden is funding and lack of participants to help in the renewal of the space. The other problem they have is the soil which is underutilized and also needs to be dug up and turned since it is not fertile any longer. Moreover, with the garden facing North and the surrounding buildings, it does not get very important lighting and sun. The members of the garden are also concerned that they will lose their sense of belonging to the neighborhood with the increased gentrification taking place.
  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 garden does not work as an enterprise. As a consequence, it is not involved in any kind of additional sustainable services. It does not seem to be taking part in a wider network. 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) Main current contact: Wendy Weston ( Secondary contacts: Lucindo Castro – (212) 254 5220 Elizabeth Moran – (917) 406 1515 Community of the LES office: (212) 788 8070
  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? There are three official members to this garden, however a number of other people come and use the space, mainly friends of the members or other neighbors who join for barbecues or use it as a storage area. The garden is about 20 by 75 square feet.
  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