Sunday, April 01, 2007

Starting a conversation about community engagement

I am emailing Kim Libby back and forth. Matthew and I plan to have a couple of lectures when we get back. One will be focused on Community engagement.

[Re]viewing city.

this is a quick email that I sent to kim. i thought I would share.

Matthew and I have talked about this topic of the changing city and public and private space. Traveling seems like both a public and private experience. We seems trapped in our private world peering out onto the public and the public is peering in on us. But in some areas you are able to cross these barriers. In Japan you will always look like a foreigner, but you can blend in more by learning the language and picking up on the small things. Australia you can definitely blend in. In India I am not sure you can ever blend in. Everything seems public. but it seems like they don't take care of the shared space. The space is shared with people, animals, everything, but no one takes responsibility for it. Everything is falling apart. In India there are spaces for everyone.- the street, the palaces, the forts. but they are all tourist places and you are always a tourist, attacked but sales pitches everywhere you turn. And I guess no one thinks that tourist will really move to India.

From Australia:
What are you thoughts about communal living?

Is there a way to look at our community in more of a communal way? How can you make a students life more integrated with it's surroundings?
As Cities change , it seems very important to think about - how do you make people feel welcome? Are you able to create spaces that ar comfortable for the stranger and the old comer? A good example- the river in Kyoto. Every one can feel welcome there.

How do you create spaces that both RISD students and the locals feel comfortable? Is it possible? Or so all the locals think- why?, it's not like they are going to move to providence anyway.

Community engagement
Are we talking literally? How do you get people involved with the community?

Everyone must be committed. Or a few must be obsessed and everyone must be aware. In Japan, the community is always thought of, b/c that is just the way it is. there are no questions about it. The question is how do you get people to do? to believe?

Peter Adams at windgrove is committed. but he is only one man that has control of his community. He is luck in that sense. All the small communal places in Australia only had to deal with a small number of people. It becomes more difficult when the numbers and the space gets larger.
the bigger it gets the more commitment.

know your place in what you are trying to do.


Anonymous said...

Size, in this case, really does make a difference!!!! If you think of "island" communities it seems to me that you will find a very different culture and sense of belonging and ownership. And ownership may be the driving force. If you have that sense of "it's yours" then you embrace it in a very different way - your approach is entirely different I think. What does the average person in India own? - poverty? desperation? no future? Maybe I'm attatching my own values to "ownership" - this is a discussion for another time - like when you get back, soon, I can't wait! bonnie

raccroney said...

I think your evaluation of these very differnent countries is so interesting, it makes me want to travel and understand these differences for myself. I think that coming back to the states and holding discussions on the topic of community engagement will definitely get people fired up and at least aware about your concerns and the need to change the state in which we live. Congratulatins on your travels!!! I can't wait to see you guys