DURBAN PARK AUTHORITIES ACT ON RECOMMENDATIONS FROM STUDENTS

DURBAN PARK AUTHORITIES ACT ON RECOMMENDATIONS FROM STUDENTS

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science and Distinguished Teacher Dr Helen Watson ensures research done by her students is relevant.

As part of her ENVS 211 Geographic Information Systems module, students were required to devote a weekend to acquiring data at the entrance of either Jameson Park,  Mitchell Park (Nimmo Road) or  Mitchell Park (Florida/Innes Roads) in Durban.

From sunrise to sunset on both days the students interviewed people using or entering the parks.  Their goal was to establish where they come from or lived; what attracted them to the facility; how often they used it; what they did not like about the Park; and what measures they would like to see implemented to improve their experience of the Park.

The students were then required to produce a GIS map showing the catchment area of most local users of the facility and to present their findings on a poster or in a report.

Watson said that the resultant posters and reports were co-ordinated and made available to the Mitchell Park Trust.  ‘The students’ findings have assisted recent decisions made regarding the prioritisation of expenditure in the Parks,’ said Watson. ‘The most significant of which is the replacement of pipes that are contributing to unhygienic conditions in the toilets.’

Watson said she was delighted at how the students really committed and engaged actively with the project.  ‘The students were thrilled to hear that their work had been taken seriously by the Trust and that funding was made available to fix the key problems they had identified.’


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za