With Our Ears to The Ground

October 6, 2009 by  

PostcarsV1F

Proboscis have been commissioned by Green Heart Partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples ideas about community and create an artists book/publication. With Our Ears to the Ground will focus on four very different types of community in order to get a broad range of opinions across the county: in Watford, Stevenage, rural North Hertfordshire and the commuter areas of Broxbourne. It focuses on finding out the reasons why people get on with each other and feel part of the community and is about developing a better understanding of our communities in order to help Hertfordshire County Council and its partners to plan their work supporting communities over the next few years.

So far we’ve met and worked with local residents  to explore what the word ‘community’ means to them, discuss personal experiences and perceptions and discover how best to overcome problems within the community. We have also been travelling in and observing the geography and human activity of the areas, visiting various public spaces and markets, malls, car parks, and countryside.  Some of the things we have noticed so far include:

- The impact of transport routes, industrial estates and other architecture- transport defines the community boundaries and defines how people have to travel to get in and out of a community.

-  The cultures of sharing in different communities, sharing of resources, goods, ideas, spaces, time.

- The cultures of listening and being able to talk that are so important in helping people feel they belong.

-  The impact of working lives and commuting that fragment traditional communities.

- Unsurprisingly friendliness has emerged as a key contributing factor in a strong sense of community

-  Questions have emerged about the definition of working class.  Working class is no longer as defined as it used to be what does working class mean now?

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