Door Knocking Reflection:
I really enjoyed the door-knocking on Wednesday. Though not all of the responses I received were positive, I leaned a lot from the experience. Mostly I learned that every neighborhood is different and every house is different. Some of the houses Stacy and I approached looked intimidating but were the homes of really kind, friendly people. Other houses looked more normal on the outside but housed intimidating people. I really enjoyed the conversations we had with some old couples that had lived in the neighborhood for 45 years or so. The conversations caused me to think about what the neighborhood must have looked like 50 years ago when Zenger Farm was a dairy farm.
I also enjoyed the experience because Stacy and I made a really productive team. We knocked on the door of every house on our list. At a lot of the houses, we didn’t get any answer but we left fliers at every residence. Only about two people who answered the door said they were too busy to talk to us. We also had to skip a lot of houses because of Beware Of Dog signs or No Trespassing signs. One house we skipped had a sign that read, “Warning, Trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again.” I got to do both the interviews and the note taking so I felt like a valued part of Stacy and my two-some. I took notes for the first third of our houses and then we switched roles. I liked talking to people more because I felt like more of a face for Zenger. Stacy had some issues with keeping all the different papers strait while taking notes, which made me feel good about my organizational skills. She also boosted my confidence by complementing me on my interviewing job.
The main concerns of the people who we talked to seemed to be more logistical than I expected. One woman was worried about the dust that the increased traffic would cause. She suggested a speed bump but she doesn’t want a paved road because that would increase the traffic. The same woman wanted to know what would happen to the forest on the side of the property. She said that the underbrush kept people out of the forest and was worried activities would increase if the forest were removed. Another man who had just moved in was worried about how close to his property Zenger was going to develop. He liked the current quietness of the area and seemed a little worried about the increase in activity. I am also now wondering what Zenger’s plans are with the forested area.
Most of the people who answered our questions didn’t have a very strong opinion on what happens on the property. We’re going to have to reach out to the community to get their input contrary to the voluntary input I expected. I’m curious to see how many people come to our workshop. The neighborhood was different from my own partly because of the passiveness of the people towards the property. If there were a piece of land being developed on my street, the neighbors would be very involved in the process. Another difference was the vibe I got from the neighborhood. All of the signs suggested an unwelcome, isolated feeling that I’ve never experienced where I live.
Another thing that I learned from the experience is that you have to be careful in how you ask questions on a survey. When Stacy and I asked some of the people about their current uses of the land they answered no very quickly. They seemed to be defensive about the question because they knew they were not supposed to be on the land. To them, the question seemed like a question where we were trying to catch them doing something illegal. In the future, I should word questions in a way that will obtain accurate, honest answers without making people uncomfortable. I’ll use this information when drafting a survey for the youth in the schools. Overall, though I was nervous for the door-knocking at first, I really enjoyed the experience.