Railway Road Researchers – German students apply Topophilia techniques to Eisenbahn Strasse.

I have been in Berlin for the Internet Erfahren conference but it was great to fit in a breakfast time meeting with students from University of Eberswalde who are planning a Masters project around a street in their town.

This street is called Eisebahnstrasse, it is the main route through town but, it seems that it is loosing any lustre it may have had in DDR days. In fact it appears that it is becoming ‘run down’.

i was very impressed with the energy and commitment of this group of young people who have taken on the challenge set for them by local shop keepers, to raise the profile and image of this location to the point where it even attracts tourists! No pressure for a four month project!

We discussed various techniques for seeking current perceptions of this street but also ways of engaging local people in considering how it might change. The group were exploring the research methods they should use. We also soon started a discussion about the interventions they could plan to change the way the street is viewed.

I just wonder how this whole project will work out? Having met most of the group, I rather think something quite special may come out of this……….. let’s see what happens to the ‘railway road researchers’.

(Oh, I should have mentioned the dynamic lecturer who put the challenge to this group, Dr Broezel. She knows how to make people think! )

I could not resist pointing out how close Eberswalde is to Europe’s number one bike route – Radweg 1.http://spokeperson.wordpress.com/


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2 Responses to “Railway Road Researchers – German students apply Topophilia techniques to Eisenbahn Strasse.”

  1. Christina Seifert Says:

    For us it was also a great pleasure to meet you and learn more about the sense of place. It is very interesting and challenging to find out what people think about the Eisenbahnstraße and how they feel about the street and what they connect with it. Reaching a new and authentic feeling and finding the sense of place for those people in the Eisenbahnstraße and attracting tourists as well is the big challenge and we are confident to make the first step. We learned from you how we can tease out the sense of place and this is good for our project. Additionally, we understand now better that engagement and empowerment is very important to reach….I think you gave us a good foundation for our research and we will keep you informed about how it works. Thanks for taking the time for us!

  2. Claudia Says:

    When I first met Alastair in Berlin we talked about Technologies and the possibiloty to empower people to learn. Then I was really impressed about his orientation in the city… he alsways is on his way by bike – even when there is snow!
    Then we came to talk longer about the concept “Sense of place” and I think it fits very very well in the subject of tourism. I really appreciate that he introduced the Concept “Sense of Place” to me and last week also to my students. We have the challenge to do a project in the town where our university is based. Mostly there are not much touch points to meet between students and inhabitants of the town. But our research and idea of finding out what people of Eberswalde feel about their place, will change this. I am really curious about the results. Alastiar, thanks for your time last week in a very “japanese” way to talk to us in your hotel in the morning!

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