maintaining community involvement - some research
- Subject: [cg] maintaining community involvement - some research
- From: A J Hinchley email@example.com
- Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 13:01:20 +0100
I'm writing from England following the discovery of your fantastic list - we
don't seem to have anything nearly as active in the UK so finding a bustling
list was a huge thrill!
I 'm doing some research with a community organisation and Sheffield
University on the long-term involvement of volunteers and participants in
community-led open space projects (including community gardens). Over here the
CG movement is not nearly as developed, but there are pockets of growing
activity. When I got interested in this trend I found that loads of really
valuable projects were suffering because they were unable to keep participants
active after the initial construction phase.
I've been lucky enough to get funding for a three year PhD project, to explore
changing patterns of involvement, and their relationship with patterns
ofcommunity attachment. The work is based on a case study area (Heeley in
Sheffield), but I'm really keen to get any thoughts or experiences on the
subject from a wider area (and I couldn't get much wider than this list by the
looks of it!).
It might be worth mentioning that one of the major differences between the
cases in England and elsewhere seems to be that our sites rarely have a
productive element to them. Growing crops is largely reserved for allotment
sites, while community gardens concentrate on 'communal activities' or simply
environmental improvement. It would be interesting to explore how this
difference creates different challenges for retaining involvement.
I'm a firm believer in the benefits that community spaces can provide, but it
seems to me that retaining community involvement in the longer term is a
process that needs to be better understood to allow them to achieve their full
I just thought I'd throw this in here, and if anyone has ANYTHING they'd like
to share on, or around, the subject I'd be extremely interested to hear it.
Best wishes to everyone,
University of Sheffield/Heeley Development Trust
(for a description of Heeley and its flagship community park project, which
acted as a catalyst for many of the smaller projects locally which I will be
studying, check this out....http://www.map21ltd.com/DTA/heeley/index.htm)
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