Scene 4: Community Survey

29 October 2013

Backstory:  Today we walked around Maitland Garden Village and spoke with fourteen community members about what they are looking for through the redevelopment of Perseverance Park. Although we met many enthusiastic members of the community, this scene describes our interactions with the individuals who left a meaningful impact on us during our first week in MGV.

scene 4

Cast of Characters:

MGV Park Team: Lucine, Tyler, Katherine, Zack

Community Members: Ronell, interviewees


Setting: Maitland Garden Village



One of the first people we met in MGV was a woman whose family has been involved in the village soup kitchen for many years. She shared with us that she has taken her 3 year old grandchild to the park in the past. However, her concern is that the park is too close to the road. She mentioned that the playground used to be in the center of the village, a location at which everyone was able to keep their eye on park activity. She recognized that the park space has a lot potential. She would like to see kiddie swings, swings for adults, and something to occupy the youth of the community (ages 9-18), such as a skateboard ramp. As we brought the possibility of fencing in the park, the woman was in complete support of the need for a fence. Her thought was that a fence would keep the older children from breaking the equipment and vandalizing the park. It would keep those who do not belong in and misuse the park out of the play space. However, she wishes that the community could appreciate things without having to fence it off. She then commented on the lack of motivation within the community and her concern about who would look out for and maintain the park. She shared a personal experience with us in regards to the soup kitchen that her family her family has been a large part of in past years. She was upset to have discovered that people are being turned away from the kitchen, neglecting to carry on the welcoming spirit that her family worked hard to develop. We left on an emotional note, as she walked back to her house in tears.

Another woman we talked to was a teacher at the Village Tods crèche in MGV. She had a powerful reaction when we brought up Perseverance Park: “That is not a park suitable for children”. She has a young son and is not a frequent visitor to the park. She, too, expressed her concern of the park being too open and in close proximity to a road. She referred to the lack of equipment in the park and the need for children to have different things to play with as not to grow bored. If the park was upgraded, she would be more likely to take her child and students to the park. However, she believes there is a strong need for safety and security. She suggested providing supervision at the park during the day so that parents can feel comfortable with leaving their children there while running errands. When we asked her what she thinks should be done first in the redevelopment process she responded: “For me, at that park, the fencing”. The fence would keep adults out and put a stop to the drinking behavior that takes place there. It would also prevent larger children from breaking the equipment. In regards to the proximity of the road, she mentioned the need for a speed bump and pedestrian cross walk to reduce the speed of the cars that drive through the area. In discussing what structures she would like to see in the park, she put emphasis on sand pits and swings, two items that are well used in the playground at the crèche.

We then spoke with a man of the Green Light Project, specifically the garden leader. He shared with us his idea of activities and programs being incorporated into the park. His only concern was the question of who would be in charge of running the programs. He expressed his desire for benches and trees for shade throughout the park. We noted that he would be the man to talk to in regards to which type of trees would provide the right amount of shade. He recommended the trees along Perseverance Road. We brought up our thought of implementing a community garden in the park. However, he was concerned on who would maintain it, commenting on the lack of motivation and use of drugs within the community. He admitted that he does not know what goes on in the park at night. However, if upgraded he would be more likely to use to. His thoughts on what should be implemented first also involved a fence and a speed bump on the road. We plan on speaking more in depth with him in regards to the landscape of Perseverance Park.

The next man we spoke with was an older gentleman whose family has been a part of MGV for many generations. He admits to not knowing much about the park, but expressed his desire to sit there with his wife and enjoy the surrounding scenery. He would like to see a fence, benches, and trees but also expressed concern about who would look after the plants. He would like to see open space for cricket and football, but the ground is unlevel and hard to play on. Like other members of the community, he suggested that someone look after the park as a result of the drinking and drug use that takes place. As the children walked by, heading home from school, he noted that the park should be a place where they can play during after school hours. As the children walked by we moved on to talk to them about their views on Perseverance Park.

We spoke to a 10 year old girl who attends the primary school in MGV. When we mentioned the park her response was “I don’t like it”. She was last in the park when she was 7 years old because she has not felt safe playing there. When we asked her what type of equipment she would like to use in the park, she would like to see swings, a big jungle gym, a new slides, and trees to climb on. She enjoys playing cricket, soccer, and basketball and would love to see a new hoop. We asked her what time she would most likely being using the park and she said that she and her friends would most likely use the park around 6 o’clock in the evening. It was great to hear her speak on behalf of many of the school children in the village.



As we spoke with more and more members of the community, there seemed to be arising themes in their responses. For example, the safety of the children was a large priority for many people. The option of enclosing the park with a fence was brought up on multiple occasions. However, the desired type of fencing was not specified. The purpose of a fence would be to keep the children safe and prevent them from running into the street rather than keeping people out. Another commonality amongst members of the community was the desire for benches and trees. This would provide adults with shade and a place to sit and watch their children play. A piece of equipment that was popular among community members of all ages was swings. Both adults and kids expressed their desire for swings and was often the first thing that came to their minds when we asked them what type of equipment they would like to see in the park.