Week 11

27 10 2011

For the past 10 weeks I have been researching the community identity of the St Vincent De Paul Night Patrol in Sydney. What I have been able to understand form this study is the effect of participation from people in creating a community and a sense of belonging.

From both the experience of being a part of the community to theory learnt during lectures and tutorials, my view on my community has been altered completely.

The St Vincent De Paul night Patrol can be seen as a community of people that bridges the gap between who is seen as ‘in’ society and who is ‘out’. This is seen with regular, everyday people volunteering to lend a helping hand to the homeless who are otherwise ignored on a day to day basis.  The coming together of people in this community brings about a social space that enables participants a sense of freedom to be themselves and not be afraid of judgement.

The news report below and a line I have quoted have helped me to understand many aspects of the homeless community in Sydney and the role of charity organisations and volunteers such as St Vincent De Paul and the Salvation Army. Volunteers and these organisations are vital to the survival of these homeless men and women. Not just by providing food and shelter, but providing them with a space to share ideas and thoughts. Providing them with a person to speak to who will actually listen to what is being said. These are some of the thoughts that have occurred to me from this video and my personal experiences of the community itself.

“Where would you be, if not for this place?”

 “I would probably be on the street somewhere… I may not be alive.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAYzfHBzfn4&list=PLB8D1E5C8419A7874&index=2&feature=plpp_video 0:56 – 1:05)

In essence, the research I have undertaken in relation to this community has enabled me to see that community as a term, ultimately refers to the individuals who live within it. By coming together a sense of purpose and belonging develops and allows the world to move forward.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAYzfHBzfn4&list=PLB8D1E5C8419A7874&index=2&feature=plpp_video (accessed 27/10/11)


Week 10

23 10 2011

Working on a project for project 3 of this subject, our group has decided to design a centre for special needs children and the elderly where the elderly can help to share their knowledge and skills that would otherwise be forgotten and lost. As a result of cooking classes, the homeless would be welcome into the centre for food and beverages.

The premise was developed from the idea of combining our 3 communities into a single open space that would bring about a sense of belonging.  Our three communities seem to be made up of individuals who sit on the fringes of society, and to bring them together through a community centre could help to alleviate this sense of displacement.

A major factor that contributed to our decision to design a centre, an open space was the lecture from week 7 which discussed the function of open squares and public spaces. Ultimately, community centres enable people to come together and to socially interact with one another, creating a space that allows sharing and participation to thrive.

To our three communities, an environment such as this could help to lower the numbers of homeless people, and help to give a sense of place and purpose to the elderly and special needs children.

Our group has envisioned a building such as below as a potential design intervention to allow these 3 communities to come together.

This image reflects the need for it to be elevation friendly for both the elderly and special needs children, yet be an open space that encourages social interaction.

Photograph: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/Sunset_community_centre_lehoux.jpg


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/Sunset_community_centre_lehoux.jpg (accessed 23/10/11)

Week 9

14 10 2011

Last week we presented our future scenarios. My future scenarios consisted of two differing possibilities.

1)      A future where high media exposure of homelessness in Sydney and low social dependency on technology would ultimately mean less chances of homelessness and more acceptance and understanding of homeless people and their problems.

2)      A future where low media exposure and high social dependency on technology would create a world of poverty and displacement in society.

These two scenarios were created using the material I had posted about in week 5.

However in the past weeks i borrowed some books from the library which allowed me to investigate the effects of these two primary drivers of change more effectively. From the information gathered from these books, the scenarios I was able to produce were broadened and more in depth.

“By including a sense of time it becomes evident that rooflessness is a process, rather than a single one-off event.” (Ravenhill 2008)

This line provided a basis for my research into other parts of my community that may be impacted upon by my drivers of change. One of these elements was economy in the scenarios. By researching the economic situation of the world I had created, I was able to link this back to homelessness in terms of cost of living, housing prices, etc as impactful on rises or decreases in homelessness. This meant that I was not limiting my scenarios to personal problems such as depression, family conflicts, but also a wider spectrum so that a process became evident. Not just a one off event in reference to the above quote.


Ravenhill, M. 2008, The Culture of Homelessness, Ashgate Publishing Company, Burlington, USA

Week 8

8 10 2011

Reflecting on the work and points covered in lecture, i believe that the points covered on the 16th of September in week 7 provided me with the tools to understanding the importance of the human factor in the existence and identities of a community.

In reference to the St Vincent De Paul Night Patrol community, whilst reading on their website about volunteer work, it became evident the important role they play in moving the world forward.

“By volunteering to make a difference, either as a regular volunteer or as a volunteer on a special project, you can make a difference for those in need.”(St Vincent De Paul Society)

From this, there were a few points in reflection from the lecture in week 7  that struck me as highly important to the existence and maintenance of charity organisations such as St Vincent De Paul:

I believe that the people who volunteer their time are one of the primary drivers of the community’s identity. Without volunteers, the community itself would not exist.

There were a few points that struck me as highly important to the existence and maintenance of charity organisations such as St Vincent De Paul:

“The population of a city has to be regarded as a total of unique individuals.”

In reference to this quote i believe that the homeless in Sydney are not regarded as individuals like the ‘in’s’ of society. Rather, the homeless are stereotyped as a whole, and not seen as individuals with their own stores and backgrounds.

“True citizenship means being an active member of the city… They have rights and duties to the city.”

This quote also stood out to me as it highlighted the lack of responsibility that the ‘in’ society has towards those on the fringes. Instead of lending a helping hand and taking the initiative to make a difference, most people have a thought that there will be someone else to take action.

These quotes brought to my attention the importance of action from people to make a difference in the world and in the community. It is these people that make the St Vincent De Paul night Patrol community a reality – an open environment for helping and sharing.


http://www.vinnies.org.au/volunteering-national?link=351 (accessed 8/10/11)

Week 7

1 10 2011

Building upon the primary drivers of change I was able to produce in week 5, this week I attempted to brainstorm other possible drivers to help broaden the range of possibilities and potential scenarios i could investigate.

In particular, i thought that the population of a city might have a large impact upon the existence of my chosen community altogether. With a smaller population in the city and surrounding suburbs, i saw that it was possible that homelessness would be a rarer occurrence. With less of a population, the price of living would be kept to a reasonable level, allowing people to afford living in homes and not on the street.

Furthermore, a smaller population would also mean more friendly people, more willing to stop and want to understand the reason for homelessness. On the other hand, a larger population would de-sensitise the population’s ability to worry about the homeless. With more people in the city, the thought of “someone else will care for them” would become more common. Hence, homelessness could increase as housing prices rose to cater for the increase in population.

Week 6 – part 2

25 09 2011


An increase in technology would mean:

– Higher dependency for people to communicate using social media such as Facebook

– Higher use of mobile phones, digital communication such as Skype and webcams

– Declined ability to communicate effectively with other people in reality (less social), will be less inclined to be in communication with those they don’t know

– people will become more closed off to sharing their experiences and stories, this will increase the rate of depression, leading to homelessness

A decrease in technology would mean:

– A Higher dependency for people to communicate face to face

– A more social environment in the city where people are happy to meet new people and to share ideas and stories

– People will be able to spend more time sharing with one another, decreasing depression rates and homelessness.

Week 6 – part 1

25 09 2011

During the week i have been thinking about primary drivers of change (from the tutorial on the 9/9/11) that effect the St Vincent De Paul night Patrol community. I was able to come up with 2 primary drivers:

– Media exposure

– Technology

I saw these two factors as large drivers of change as they would ultimately affect the way people were able to communicate and effectively understand one another.

Media Exposure:

An increase in media exposure about the homeless and about the what the St Vincent De Paul Night Patrol service is doing would resultantly increase the number of volunteers who helped out every evening. Furthermore, further exposure of the stories and experiences of the homeless would allow everyday people – the ‘ins’ to understand the homeless better. The stereotyping of homeless people as drunks and drug addicts of society would decline significantly as the stories of the homeless would reveal their identities as people. I believe that an increase in this exposure would mean more people would be inclined to give a lending hand to the homeless and be more open to communication and contact with them on a day to day basis.

On the Other hand, a decrease in media exposure would significantly decrease the number of volunteers and subsequently our stereotyped understanding of the homeless would continue to grow, allowing more and more homeless to live on Sydney’s streets.