Scene 5: Working with Co-Researchers

1 November 2013

Backstory: Working with co-researchers has been an important part of our project since the beginning of our preparation term.

scene 5

Cast of Characters:

MGV Park Team: Lucine, Tyler, Katherine, Zack

Co-Researchers: Shannon, Zoe, Zelreese, Shaniece, Linton



The City of Cape Town Parks Department, Perseverance Park


Today we met our co-research team for the first time.  Over the next 6 weeks we will be working closely with Shannon, Zoe, Zelreese, Shaniece and Linton. Each member of our co-research team has grown up in the MGV community and still lives there today. We sat down with them in an attempt to get to know each other better.  We learned about each other’s hobbies and lifestyles, discovering that Shannon has a 5-year-old daughter and Zelreese has a 2-year-old son. Immediately, we knew that they will both share great ideas with us, keeping the safety and well being of their children in mind throughout the redevelopment of Perseverance Park. As for the co-researchers themselves, they said that they enjoyed going to the beach and going into the city with friends to enjoy the restaurants and night clubs.

After talking with one another in the City Parks Department office, we walked to the park to get a closer look. They pointed out some of the things they were concerned about in the park, things that we had not necessarily taken into consideration, such as how hot the metal slide becomes in the summer.  While talking to Shannon a small girl snuck up behind her.  She started making funny faces at our team while we were talking.  When Shannon saw us giggling she turned around and invited her daughter to come join us.  She was a little shy, but Shannon said she loved coming to park and could spend hours on the slide.  We asked how often Shannon brings her daughter to the park and she pointed to her house across the street. She often lets her daughter come to the park alone, as she is able to watch her play from the window. After talking more with our co-research team we discovered that they all live on surrounding edges of the park. Knowing this makes us confident that there will always be watchful eyes looking after the park, especially after them becoming fully invested in the redevelopment process in the upcoming weeks.

The second time we met with our co-research team, they came prepared with a preliminary design of the redeveloped park. Shannon, Zoe and Shaniece designed a park together and Zelreese drew one on her own.  It was great to see the ideas that they were able to share with us.  Both of their park designs turned the current informal path into an established walkway.  They also included a fence surrounding the park, something that the majority of the community also felt was necessary for providing safety and security. We took this opportunity of reviewing the park designs to bring up our alternative ideas about fencing in the park.  Since our research concluded that fencing is not the most ideal or effective way of managing the space, we told them our focus was not on fencing in the park, but rather using other methods to control the flow of people through the space.  We raised our doubts on fencing solving the vandalism issues. They agreed with us and one of them came forward with a comment that steel palisade fencing would make the park look like a prison.

All in all, we had a great first couple days with our co-researchers. As we left MGV today, we made plans to meet up with them tomorrow at Village Day. We are excited to spend some time with them outside of work and get to know them better. We hope that they will introduce us to some of their friends so that we can learn more about them and get others excited about the redevelopment of Perseverance Park.



Meeting our co-researchers was an interesting experience, as meeting new people for the first time most often is. It was hard to engage them in conversation because they seemed shy and hesitant to voice their opinion and ideas. They spoke to each other in Afrikaans, making it difficult for us to understand them and know what they were saying to each other. They may have been sharing insight with one another but the language barrier prevented us from getting a feeling of what they were actually speaking about. It was also very likely that it was difficult for them to understand us, as we made comments to one another as well. Although they seemed to open up towards the end of our meetings with them, we are still uncertain of the amount of enthusiasm the have for the project. We did get a sense that they were looking forward to engaging in the social aspect of the project and working with us. However, as we have discovered through our prep term, it is important to balance fun and work to be as productive and successful as possible. We look forward to developing the same relationship with them as we have developed within our team.