Situated Research Progress 2

Steffen Seamon, Simon Cohen

Date of Inquiry: November 29, 2018

Here is a link to our project on the urban-ocene.

At the start of lab this week, we decided to refine our focus question. We made our question more specific so that it would be answerable through our research. Our new focus question is: How do green spaces in urban environments reflect the values of modern Japan? This question focuses our research to green spaces, which are non-developed areas that either preserve existing landscapes or contain new built natural areas. Our research indicates that Japanese cities have usually contained green spaces. However, the structure of cities has changed following rapid growth after the Second World War.This relates back to our framing question as a case study of how urban spaces are connected to perceptions, or values, of the natural world. We believe that examining green spaces will inform our larger framing question because the processes to create or maintain a green space represent the values of urban residents.

In our middle of the hourglass work this week we focused our efforts primarily into methodology in the veins of statistics/textual scholarship and survey methodology. In our survey methodology we chose to create an extensive survey for this project, since our research will be pertaining to a wide demographic and we desire to capture a wide larger number of voices to represent the values of an urban space. The working title for our survey is “Value Survey on Green Spaces in Urban Environments” which attempts to emulate the style and goals found in the World Values Survey, while pertaining to the subject matter of our particular research project. The working hypothesis/ predicted outcome for this survey is “There is probably some sort of value(s) that maintain green spaces in Japanese urban spaces. This survey will inform to what degree this is true.” It’s rough, but it articulates the goal and predicted outcome of this survey. For this survey, which aims to articulate the values of urban Japanese people pertaining to green spaces,  we chose to use the Likert Scale as the method of survey formation since it is more inclusive for answers. The first portion of the roughly 10 question survey will pertain the Environmental Values as found in the World Values Survey we examined some weeks ago. An example of what this would like is found below. The latter half of the questions will be more exclusive answers, 1-4 options dealing with demographic information such as age, sex, and residential region. This data will be analyzed in a way that informs the values of the people pertaining to our research project, as well as who those people are.

e.g.Q1. Land use Green Space vs. Urban Development

How should land be used in an urban space?

  1. – There should be priority on creating more green space, even if it inhibits urban development
  2. – Green space should be included in an urban space, only of it is convenient for urban development.
  3. – Urban centers should include green spaces, but should be given low priority
  4. – There is no need for urban centers to include green space.

We reviewed the literature that we collected for our annotated bibliography in the previous lab. We looked for scholarship that would develop our theories on urbanization and support our decision to situate our project in Japan. Our framing sources supplied a framework for understanding urbanization as a source for environmental change. Urban intensification and development have led to effects like urban heat islands, increased precipitation, and changes in wind patterns. Cities in Japan have included both green spaces and developed areas since before the industrial age (Yokohari and Amati, 2005). We chose to examine modern Japan to understand how the value of green spaces has changed with intense urban development following the Second World War. Our statistical analysis includes data averaging global effects of cities, specific case studies outside of Japan, and data resulting from studies of urbanization in Japan.

If conducted, our study would ascertain the values surrounding urbanization in Japan. Those values and results could be used to contextualize Japan’s modern environmental history with that of the rest of the world. This study would give us insight into one facet of the urban-ocene. While this study is situated primarily in urban spaces, a further study could be conducted in rural spaces to further our understand of the urban-ocene through comparative analysis.

Work Cited

Yokohari, Makoto, and Marco Amati. 2005. “Nature in the City, City in the Nature: Case Studies of the Restoration of Urban Nature in Tokyo, Japan and Toronto, Canada.” Landscape and Ecological Engineering 1 (1): 53–59.


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