Saturday, April 14, 2007

reading the city

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) how you think about your research question.

For this assignment (due before class on Monday) each group will need to:

- Choose a place in the city; a city block, 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.)

- begin by walking around (e.g. the block) and assessing the context.

- the “walking around the block” part can be the whole of this assignment or it can be just the context. For example, if your “place” is a building or park, or even the inside of some place, walking around the block will help you situate your object of study.

- blog your experience and how this way of data gathering might help you in Amsterdam. Reference the methods articles (Lynch & Zeisel) in your analysis.

Professor Ryan will join us again on Monday to review your findings.

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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