(Un) Urban day 4 – Green urban initiatives & Interview skills for research

The day started with a panel discussion with four speakers about green urban initiatives. The first was Joyce Veheary who talked about her Lend & Tend project., two representatives from the mobile garden city project and finally Gary Grant talked about the importance of urban greenery. Followed by a group challenge.

What I also found inspiring was theme of finding green spaces within in the city in a directly participatory and fast way. Instead of tearing down houses they worked with using existing environment and lead their projects by le people initiatives rather than just top-down political manner. It shows how much impact people can have and that urban greenery can be everywhere and anywhere as long as people are willing.

I also enjoyed about learning the benefits of gardening and green initiatives. I learnt that gardening could be a tool to build relationships from individual level in the Lend & tend project to the whole community as with the mobile garden city. That increased greenery also benefits the whole of society supporting biodiversity and lowering energy consumption by cooling down houses when placed on exterior roofs or walls of buildings. Ultimately, that green initiatives can benefit people’s wellbeing socially, mentally and environmentally.

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In the afternoon we learnt skills of social research method, for example how to approach people with questions in interview situation and how to get the most rich information and useful knowledge from questions. Methods included making people comfortable by engaging in small talk, perhaps having tea with them or ask them about their journey to get there. That we should be respectful and observant, e.g. if they take of their shoes off in their home you should do that to. We also learnt how to actually formulate the question in the best way. Some questions needed a direct approach. They are too big and therefore needed guidance too not give a too general answer. Whilst other questions should be more indirect, deliberately left a bit up for interpretation to learn more in depth about interviewee’s opinions. We practiced interviewing each other and how to lead the interview to get information about the topics we wanted to address by    using a list of questions to follow-up, structure.

We also received our maps and choose what challenge we preferred today. The challenge about helping Wick Award and Big Local Hackney Wick to facilitate positive connections between long-established communities and residents moving into Hackney Wick was the most popular and everyone that was present from our group today were very enthusiastic about it This was a very practical and skill based day, and I feel both more confident and ready  for the tasks but most of all really excited about the challenge and our week ahead!

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