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Green Spaces Project of the Month

March 2005 - Viewfinder Project, Sheffield
Contact: Claire Risbeth, tel: 0114 222 0606, email: c.rishbeth@sheffield.ac.uk

The Viewfinder project combined a basic course in photography with research into refugees' perception and experiences of urban green spaces. It took place in Sheffield in 2004 and was a collaboration between the Department of Landscape, Sheffield University and Positive Negatives, a community based training organisation.

The aims of the research were to find out how refugees and asylum seekers perceive and use public open space, including how this relates to their homeland experiences and memories, and to look into what designers and managers can do to encourage use of public space by this population group.

A group of Sheffield resident refugees and asylum seekers, ranging in age from 17 to 45 and originating from Afghanistan, Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia and Zimbabwe visited and photographed ten green spaces around the city over a twelve week period. They compared notes on their responses to a range of different green space environments, including formal public gardens, heritage parks, community parks, semi-natural cultural landscapes and parks festivals.

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