Friday, May 05, 2006

Urban Studies Methods Assignment

The goal of this assignment is to use the urban studies methods that you read about and the ideas presented by Professor Ryan, to explore possibilities related to your research topic. What I mean by possibilities is to explore and observe a setting in Seattle that will help you understand how to approach a similar setting in Amsterdam.

This experience should inform 1) the kinds of things you can learn from an urban place, 2) the way you will approach urban places in Amsterdam, and 3) perhaps even how you think about your research question.

For Monday each group (this is a group project) will need to:

- Choose a place in the city; a building, a public space, a neighborhood, an historical site, a piece of public art, etc.

- Meet at this place and explore, observe, inquire, and document (take notes, photographs, etc.)


1) blog your experience and how this way of data gathering might help you in Amsterdam

2) as a group, present what you found, what you learned, and how this approach informs your research in Amsterdam (or doesn’t).

A couple of things to note: An urban context can tell you things. Observing environmental behavior can tell you things. Places, built environments, are neutral about the questions you ask.

Professor Ryan provided a tremendous set of resourses for you. Along with an mp3 of his talk, you can find them on the course blog at “Guest Lecture Archives”. For those interested in people wrt your research, check out the link to “etic vs emic.”

And finally…

Get out now. Not just outside, but beyond the rap of the programmed electronic age so gently closing around so many people at the end of our century. Go outside, move deliberately, then relax, slow down, and look around. Do not jog. Do not run…Walk. Stroll. Saunter…Explore.



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