Stage 1: Data Collection
Visit one or more blocks in the city and make systematic observations. Follow up by analyzing disorder on / near the block from the online databases linked to our class website. Collect data in the form of images, videos, charts, maps, counts, or field notes that will help you answer the following two questions:
1.How prevalent are social and physical disorder on/near the block you have chosen?
- Are there visible litter, graffiti, or physically deteriorated structures on the block?
- Do people on/near the block frequently complain about loud noise, rodent infestation, or other forms of disorder?
- Have there been burglaries, muggings, or violent or sexual assaults on/near the block in the past year?
2.What might be the causes of any disorder? What factors might help suppress it?
- If there is disorder, what factors might explain it?
- For example, if there is graffiti, are there lots of teenagers in the area?
- If there are noise, litter, or rodent issues, are there lots of bars / restaurants nearby?
- What factors might help to suppress it?
- Security guards, police, eyes on the street, private sanitation services?
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:
- Narrative / Overview
- Observed Disorder
- Possible Causes of Disorder
- Factors that Control Disorder
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.
Hint: Focus your discussion of the explanations of disorder and the factors controlling disorder on the specific types of disorder you observe. If there is no graffiti, but a high rate of theft, why might this be?