URSP 116 – 901: Introduction to the City

URSP 116 – 901: Introduction to the City
Field Research Project: Observing City Spaces
The goal of this exercise is to expose you to the often dynamic human behavior that manifests within urban spaces. You must choose from one of the designated locations chosen by the instructor. Your objectives are as follows:
1) Watch the documentary “The social life of small urban spaces” by William Whyte. This will be shown early in the semester and will also be on reserve at Cabell library.
2) Choose one of the designated urban spaces from the course “assignments” on Blackboard.
3) Locate yourself in an optimal vantage point so as to be able to observe human behavior without being overly conspicuous.
4) Document all that you can see and hear from that vantage point, e.g. buildings, people, activities, small structures, objects, climate, etc.
5) Note specific patterns of movement within the space and where people are tending to locate and why
▪ Where are people sitting and what are they doing?
▪ Are people collecting in certain areas more than others?
▪ What unusual behavior do you notice?
▪ Are certain areas attracting people more than others and why?
6) Use the map provided to make note of all your observations and any specific patterns of behavior.
7) Write a one page, single spaced, synopsis of your experience including your presumptions, observations, and conclusions. Along with your synopsis, you must include a copy of your map, typed field notes, and photographs
8) Helpful Hints:
➢ The best time to visit downtown locations is during the week at lunch hour 11:30-1:30pm or on Saturday afternoons.
➢ Locations are better to observe on the weekends between 11am-6pm.
➢ pictures can help you recall observations.
➢ Try and stay as inconspicuous as possible
➢ If observing a location not offered, inform instructor.
9) Suitable observation locations:
 Carytown, Richmond Virginia
 Main Street Mall, Downtown Charlottesville, VA
 City Dock, Old Town Alexandria, VA
 King Street, Old Town Alexandria, VA
 Ballston Station, Arlington, VA
 Clarendon Station, Intersection of Clarendon Blvd & N. Edgewood St.
 Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.
 Old Town Fredericksburg, VA
 Granby Street, Downtown Norfolk, VA
 Metro Gallery Place-Chinatown, Washington, D.C.
 Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
 Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD
 Main Street, Downtown Annapolis, MD
 South Broadway St., Fells Point, Baltimore, MD.
 pedestrian mall, Loudoun Street, downtown, Winchester, VA
 North Market Street, downtown Frederick, MD
 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA
*Students may also recommend a City to be approved by the instructor.

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