Overwhelmed but definitely interested

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.

 

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3 Responses to Overwhelmed but definitely interested

  1. Adam Ridley says:

    Wow Jessica! I really think you nailed it! I’m so impressed with the way that you are able to sense the difficulties surrounding the tough issue and that best of all, I love your last line! I hope that you will be able to use your lack of bias to benefit your work and the people with whom you come into contact.

    What sort of work will you take part in as the internship progresses?

    Best of luck,
    Adam

  2. Kevin Wright says:

    Hi Jessica.

    That was really interesting. Even though we had a long conversation yesterday I had no idea that your were doing an internship, let alone one that is so crucial to Rosengard’s understanding of itself. I obviously need to improve my questioning techniques. Or perhaps you told me and I need to improve my listening instead!

    Keep up the blogging. I look forward to reading more.

    Kevin

  3. Dr Anita Lundberg says:

    Hi Jessica. It sounds like your internship is a bit like being an anthropologist going into different cultural group and participating while also observing. It’s great that you have been invited to provide the outsider’s perspective. And this is so appropriate to the border crossings theme.

    I am about to do a lecture on Global Cities as part of a subject on Networks. Your comments on sustainability, remind me about the exact things I need to reinforce for my students. As you say: “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”.

    Excellent!

    Anita

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