Stage 1: Data Collection
Visit one or more public space(s) in the city and make systematic observations. Collect data in the form of images, videos, drawings, counts, or field notes that will help you answer the following two questions:
1. How is the space being used?
a. How many people are using the space?
b. What kinds of people are using it? (e.g. demographics / occupation)
c. Where are they located within the space and what are they doing?
d. Both qualitative descriptions of their activity and quantitative descriptions (i.e. counts of people involved in various activities) may be useful.
2. How is the space designed or arranged physically?
b. Is there seating? What kind?
c. What sorts of amenities does it offer? (Water, greenery, food, people-watching, etc.)
d. Is it open to the surrounding street or closed off?
Stage 2: Write Up
Write a report to a fictional city agency (The NYC Commission on Small Urban Spaces) evaluating the public space you observed. The structure of the report is up to you, but it could contain one or more of the following sections:
a. Narrative / Overview: Why did you choose the space? What were your expectations? What were your first impressions? How did your research support or contradict your expectations?
b. Methodology: At what time of day and week did you visit? Where did you position yourselves? How did you go about your observations and record your data?
c. Design Evaluation: How (specifically) is the space designed? How does it look and feel? What do you think are the intentions of its physical design or layout?
d. Sociological Evaluation: Who uses the space and how is it used? How does its location, design, etc., contribute to its “social life” (or lack thereof)?
The report should be roughly 5-10 pages of text, plus images. It should be written clearly, with correct spelling and grammar. It should be detailed and convincing. But this does mean it should not be interesting or entertaining. Be funny if you like – this is not an academic writing exercise. You do not have to cite any sources, but if you do, cite them correctly, using APA.