Because of family circumstance in America I wasn't in week 3 on the academy. I didn't sit still on my way to America and I decided to do some field research in the cities were I was: Chicago, Manistique and New York. 3 different cities were they response differently to nature. I saw confronting and different perspectives about living in a city. I had conversations with the people in the different cities and how people are changed by their own city were they lived in. This field research gives me and also my group some insides for our project.
Chicago: Chicago is a place that everyone has heard of, but people doesn’t visit it really fast. I was there for a few days and Chicago is a beautiful nature environment city. An important part of Chicago is the Chicago park district. The Chicago Park District owns more than 8,800 acres of green space, making it the largest municipal park manager in the nation. The Chicago Park District’s more than 600 parks offer thousands of sports and physical activities as well as cultural and environmental programs for youth, adults, and seniors. The Chicago Park District is also responsible for 28 indoor pools, 50 outdoor pools, and 26 miles of lakefront including 23 swimming beaches plus one inland beach. From canoeing to soccer fields to arts and crafts, there is never a shortage of activities to participate in Chicago’s parks. There is a big park in the Chicago circle what is almost the half of the Chicago circle. It takes almost 2 hours to walk trough the whole park. I also walked through this park and I asked people what they are doing in this park. People come to the park to relax, to sport (you see a lot of people running), but also to work and to have meetings. People meet up with friends, a place where children can play, but also to get inspired. Because there are many museums and art in the parks. The park district is very important for Chicago, you can even notice it when you are in the middle of the city, where it is quite busy. You feel a sort of calmness what is difficult to describe and I never felt before in a big city. America is always described as a country with a lot of hysteria, but this was not noticeable in such a big city as Chicago. Even if you walked downtown Chicago in the middle of the city there were also signs with facts about nature, to learn people also more about nature. It is impossible nowadays to bring the nature fully back to back in the days. But Chicago is the example for other cities they are showing how cities and nature can work together.
Manistique: A small town upper lake Michigan in the middle of some woods. I have stayed in a house in the middle of the woods for 4 days. Maybe it doesn’t sound exciting so yet far. But the house was 30 minutes of the inhabited world, also there is no connection with the outside world, no telephone connection, no network and also no wifi. This is something where we are not accustomed more to especially in Netherlands. It was for me personally hard to kick off from and to get used to this new situation. But after 2 days it felt so free to not hear my phone and to have no social media updates. I was feeling a lot healthier and I had also more rest in my body and mind. In addition, I was also much more creative, you have to be creative also because if you want a house in the the middle of the woods you have to arrange the water, collect wood for the fireplace and recycle the most of your garbage. You need a little bit to survive. I was especially more creative by watching what's going on in nature. In the forests are a lot of wild animals to find : Wild Turkeys, deer’s, eagles and also bears and a lot more different animals that living free in the nature. But there is a large community that for nature conservation and also teach the children about this. They are watching to the trees, remove old ones and place always a new one, but also looking to the population of the animals, and if the lake water stays fine. This very small community lives on the nature around them, it is hard working but the people are feeling unless there hard work free in the lots of nature around them. After being after 4 days back in the “habited world” with connection and back in online world, I felt immediately restless, tired and more panicking. I felt it in my whole body. I was more overstimulated than ever before. This 4 day experiment was really interesting something to think more about.
New York: After a week with non contact days with the outside world and lots of rest and nature, it might not be the best idea to head over to the city New York. If there is a place were you get overstimulated then it will be New York. After already a number of hours in New York I was super stressed and I did not know where to look at. The amount of teeming people, the screens, the sounds, everything was going fast and felt too much. New York in the opposite of Chicago. Where in Chicago is a lot of attention given to the nature and the parks. Gives New York no attention to nature, only to Central Park and the Highline. But also this places are busy don’t feeling calm. There is no real place for peace, quietness and rest in the city and you can also notice this to the people. The city feels restless and many people on the street are talking to themselves, they no longer know how to feel and hear silence and they are making them literally physical “crazy”. It is a worried thought and I don’t think that the city will change in the future.
Pictures are mostly of myself, only not the 2 last pictures of the Chicago part. Thanks for helping me with this field research: Mary Jane, and 4 unknown names people in Chicago Tom White, Melissa Huto and Emily in Manistique Simon and unknown name from New York.