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Evaluating your neighborhood (step 4)

Step 4: Collect Data

Observation techniques

Methods of collecting information about a public place are as varied as the places themselves. The Downloads area provides documents with in-depth descriptions of several observational techniques—including trace measures, behavior mapping, counting, and tracking—as well as techniques for measuring people’s perceptions through interviews and questionnaires. Each description includes information on when and how to use a technique and an example of a form that can be used to collect the information. These tools can be used in many different ways for an hour or longer. However, observations should be conducted more than once. They should be done over several different periods, on a weekday and weekend, and at different times of day to better understand the "flow" of a place. You may be surprised what you discover.

Drawing plans on a map of Chicago

Download the sample forms for a brief overview of observation techniques including behavior mapping, counting, tracking, interview & questions, and trace measures.