It has been one year since the B2N research project on urban nature started. Now, it is time to reflect on and share our achievements so far, as well as to orient for the future. The doings of the first year can be coined as follows:
Field trips (exploring urban storm water solutions in Tampere and Helsinki areas)
Conferences (special tracks and presentations)
Writing (writing, and writing)
Field trips – Our research team has made field trips to visit various urban storm water cases in and around Tampere and Helsinki. During these trips, our focus has been on how they have been designed, who has been involved in the design and production, how successful the projects have been and what is going on in the cases now. We have been generating extensive data (numerous interviews) with city officials, planners and others, i.e. people who have been involved in the design and producing these areas. Interviews have been walking field interviews, where we (sometimes just one, sometimes up to three researchers) stroll the areas in question while observing and talking about storm water management. For a researcher coming from the business studies background, like myself, this has been especially eye-opening to actually get to see, feel and hear the different urban areas we are talking and writing about. Jere is a keen photographer, always documenting the areas in question.
Conferences – the spice of academic life. Sometimes I feel that I do nothing but pack and unpack my suitcase in between conference trips. I do not complain (often) though, as conferences and seminar are the best way to share our ideas and to get instant feedback. We have had the opportunity to organise two special tracks in conferences (NESS, EBEN ) focusing on the core themes of our research project. Such special tracks provide important opportunities to get the word out on our project as well as to invite likeminded people in the same session with you. It is kind of like organising a mini-conference within the conference. As a recommendation, please check the key note speeches of the HopefulNESS conference, as they are available on the conference website. In addition to these special tracks, we have presented (or are soon going to present) research papers and posters in Academy of Management (August, 4-5, Atlanta, USA) and Green Surge International Conference (September, 20-21, Malmö, Sweden).
Writing (writing, writing)– well, this actually ensues from points 1 and 2 presented above. As you can imagine, numerous field trips equal A LOT of data! Which is a good thing, as rich and plentiful data is lifeline of empirical (environmental social science) research. To attend a conference, researchers are first typically required to write an abstract about their research, and then to extend the text into a conference paper prior or after the conference.
So, what next? Rinse and repeat. We organised a workshop for our research group at the Kaupinoja Sauna in Tampere, where we spend a full day discussing the progress of the project and planning this year’s activities. We also took some pictures (see our new profile pictures) and relaxed in the sauna. Now we are fully prepared for our second year!