Location Observation

Observe and record how people use public space

Activity Type : Understand
Participant Audience : Residents, Researchers

Find a spot where people are gathering in relatively higher numbers than in other parts of the neighbourhood. Sketch a quick site plan from bird’s eye view showing the location and any important elements (buildings, trees, kiosks, paths, streets, etc.). Then, mark where all the people are in dots. Couple this with a few photographs of the spot to show it from a different point of view. Be sure to also record the time of day, length of observation and weather conditions. You can also record what people are doing (sitting, gathering, walking, playing, eating, etc.).

What makes this tool valuable?

Certain destinations tend to attract more people. How people cluster around certain areas and the type of space that allows for that is important to understanding how a community functions. The purpose of this map is to illustrate the popular gathering spaces in the neighbourhood and how they function spatially.

People gathering in a public space
Tips & tricks
  1. Do the Location Observation after you’ve spent some time doing other exploratory walks in the neighbourhood. Information from the previous walks will show what areas to use for a location observation.
  2. The Location Observation can be used in areas where there are well-utilized, or public spaces or areas that need improvements.