Just over a month into the field work has seen me walking about with a camera and notebook and meeting people in different parts of Enfield – a north London borough and our selected ‘suburban’ area. Paula Jeffery, the Chief Executive of Enfield Voluntary Action (EVA) and one of our key partners, has given me some valuable insight into the area through sharing her local knowledge – its history, its geography and some of its defining characteristics. So far I’ve met with people from all three sectors – voluntary (e.g. the Volunteer Centre), statutory (e.g. Police and Local Authority) and private (e.g. Chamber of Commerce).
Many of Enfield’s voluntary and community sector infrastructure organisations (e.g. Enfield Disability Action and the Volunteer Centre) are based in the same building called ‘Community House’ – a friendly place in the south east of the borough with a volunteer-ran café open to the public. A large number of north London’s business infrastructure organisations (e.g. Enfield Business and Retailers Association) are housed in the north east of the borough in the same building, called ‘Enfield Business Centre’. These infrastructure ‘hubs’ seem to really facilitate collaboration and communication – something that one of my interviewees commented on.
A helpful conversation with a head of service at the Local Authority, walking about making observations and visiting an exhibition at London’s Museum of Transport, are helping me narrow down my fieldwork area to an approximate 2 mile square patch based around three Underground stations. The combination of excellent transport links to the city centre and an abundance of 1930s semis should make this fertile ‘suburban’ ground for the research to take place in.