Ali Karimi, MArch I 2016
Organization: Affordable Housing Institute, Boston, MA, USA
Sponsor: Joint Center for Housing Studies Community Service Fellowship
“Thanks for tuning in to the first of my blog posts about the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) Community Service Fellowship. I will be discussing my time with the Affordable Housing Institute in Boston and the development of my summer-long project. ‘Housing the Gulf’ is a project which aims to compose the first-ever lineage of government built affordable housing in the Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, KSA, UAE, and Qatar.
I spent my first week in discussion with David Smith and Judy Park to clearly define the project goals. After going through several articles and publications, I decided to document these readings as they were being done. Documenting meant that I would: a) have a bibliography I could reference, b) have a repository for interesting information or images, c) insure I would not be caught a month down the line trying to remember ‘where that one quote was’. I decided to create a research blog, a place in which I would summarize what I had read, including interesting quotes/diagrams, or interesting texts that the author references. The blog in its’ current form is more like a scrapbook. I can already see it working as a way of tracking my readings. Blogs do not have to be refined at first, they just have to exist – refinement comes out of habit and figuring out your own best practices. I would highly recommend keeping a blog when you begin a research process, to keep tabs on what you’ve read as well as your process.
By the end of the first week I was able to define the scope of my work, and form a foundation from which the research could be conducted. The second week consisted of rewriting the pitch. This document serves as a guide to the research as well as a document to send to contacts to explain what the research is and what information is needed. This process also included compiling the primary statistics and information that would be needed for the project, the main contacts in each country, and the government projects (location, date, architect) that I could find through the first week of research. By the end of the second week I had a document which was an explanation of the project, a schedule, an initial contact list, and an initial project list.”