It has taken me a while to write this second blog. The reason it has taken so long is that I wanted to write a bit about my internship, because this is a big part of the Border Crossings Project and definitely one of the things that attracted me to it. My internship is with the City of Malmo in the district of Rosengård. And to be honest it took me a while to get my head around just what I was here to do, because it has been quite overwhelming.
The difficulty being partly that there is a lot of history and a whole new government structure to learn about. In Australia for example I know how the Federal, State, and Local councils all fit together and I have a fairly good understanding of who is in charge of what. I also know who the different political actors are and what their party’s views are. Coming in to Malmo I have none of this. I have no knowledge of the background structure or the history and politics that go with it. And this is quite a disconcerting feeling. Especially because Rosengård is an area that attracts the media’s attention and whether what the media is saying is right or wrong, it gives an impression of the area that the people who live there then have to deal with. I am very conscious of the fact that this is a public forum and that I am a guest here in Malmo and a guest in Rosengård and I certainly do not want to make any comments that may be taken the wrong way through my lack of understanding of how this society fits together.
Having said that, so far the internship I am doing has been a really interesting experience, we have been learning a lot about Malmo and its history, in particular the city’s history in the last 20-30 years, and also the aims of the city to become a sustainable city in the future. By sustainable they don’t just mean sustainable in the ecological sense they also mean economically and socially. They are taking a holistic view of creating a sustainable city, something I think is very commendable and again a little overwhelming because there is just so much to take into consideration. It is definitely a lesson in interdepartmental communication and cooperation because without that it just could not happen.
Within the city there are 10 districts one of which is Rosengård. And since we began just a few weeks ago we have met a number of people who have been able to share with us their different images of Rosengård as well as an idea of its history, the way it is currently and the aims for the future of the district and how it fits into the overall city goal of sustainability. Our purpose in our internship is to observe as many of the different facets of the Rosengård district as we can and to learn as much as we can, in order to get an overall view of what is happening and to provide an outsider’s perspective of what we see as might be issues or possible solutions towards meeting those sustainable goals could be. I guess this is because sometimes when you are working on something from the inside you get so focused on one element that you just can’t see for looking. In this sense that disconcerting feeling I have from my lack of background knowledge maybe a help after all.