Sydney Urban Growth and Decline 2011: Student observations updated

Last November I published the first of these wordles, by way of summarising the language used by my students who had written reports on a field study project conducted earlier in the year. My students completed a field study around the Sydney Harbour foreshore from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay.

This was part of a major unit of work within the syllabus topic: Issues in the Australian Environment. A description of my approach is found here.

After the students had completed a report on this activity, as part of an assessment task, I merged two student reports as the base document for a Wiki on urban processes. Both papers are now published on an urban proceses wiki for further refinement by all students who participated.

Here’s a wordle based on the two papers.

Wordle: Sydney and Urban Study

Not long ago we repeated the field study.  My feeling is that this years students really understood the issues at a deeper level than last years. Here’s the wordle from the two best students reports.

Wordle: Urban Growth and decline 2

Why a stronger result this year
Several factors operated to produce a stronger result overall, this year. I think the first of these was my own confidence. Last year the field study was run as part of a DER Research project. I was probably over ambitious in what I attempted to achieve and also less familiar with the software and what students might be able to achieve with it. Last year there was also an extraordinary amount of time pressure on the process. Another critically important factor was that all assessment was reduced to pen and paper work whereas this year a significant component of the assessment was digital. This last change reflects changing culture within the school and the increasing prominence of digital approaches, thanks to the DER 1:1 laptop program.

Scope of the Project
This report focuses on indicators and impacts of urban growth and decline identified in a field study that was undertaken along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour. Participants investigated a variety of the geographical issues related to change in land use along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour how they are being resolved. Specifically the field study aimed to answer a set of research questions concerning:
• the use being made of the foreshore;
• the impact of such use on the biophysical and built environment; and,
• the ways in which impacts are being addressed.

With these questions as a focus participants gathered data at four separate locations: Pyrmont Bridge and King St Wharf; Millers Point; Walsh Bay; and Circular Quay West.

Not all of the main urban processes of urban renewal, urban consolidation, urban decline and gentrification were observable at each of the chosen locations but all of these processes were observable in the field study area.

Just how the participants reported on the field study activity in the follow-up assessment was open to one of two basic approaches.

They could:
• choose to report on each location in turn describing and analysing the indicators and impacts of each urban process at each location: or,
• discuss each urban processes citing examples of it’s occurrence, indicators and impacts at each of the four locations studied

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