Method test on the ground
Carried out in Potsdam on 20, 21 and 22nd Sept. 2016
Content research suitcase
Notebook, pens in different colours, tripod, poster, information flyer, maps, GoPro camera, microchips (two 64 GB), 5 extra batteries, mobile phone (includes Apps for noise level recording, interview recording, time, and weather analysis, panorama picture function), external hard drive (2 Terra byte) for data storage.
20th September 2016
Inspection of location as well as testing of phase one (investigation for traces of play)
Location: pedestrian zone and shared space Brandenburger Strasse, Potsdam
Weather condition: sunny, no wind, 27 degrees
Notes: Took many pictures of grafitty, stickers on electricity boxes, marks on street furniture (including benches, bike racks and street light poles), bike rental station, bins with stickers, bicycles, charcoal drawings on footpath “Frieden”, flower beds, signs
Walked over to site two ( dutch quarter shared space environment). Due to the fact that there were no benches in the public realm I did not decide to go forward with this site. As agreed in the Ethics approval I need to remain in the public realm for research.
21st September 2016
Arrival at Position Nr. one (Brandenburger Strasse corner Lindenstrasse)
Time: around 6.30 am
Weather: temperature in the morning 14 degrees, few clouds, no wind, sunny
Noise level recording: Time 7:05 am (Normal conversation level, loud singing, inside car) –> dB statistic on external hard drive)
Notes are recorded in the black notebook.
Reflection on my own action:
In the beginning I recorded too much information and feelings –> the later the day it became more and more clearer what is relevant information and what is less useful.
- people started to walk through the area from 7.20 am onwards
- most playful behaviour is riding bike, listening to music, playing on mobile phones, window shopping, play around, joking around
- morning tea (warming up from 8.40 am -9.20 am)
- all three additional camera batteries were all depleted at 12 noon –> abort observation for the day and trying to get more battery packs.
- through traffic was possible (for vehicles)
Arrival at second position: Brandenburger Strasse corner Dorusstraße at 9.20 am
Weather: temperature in the morning 21 degrees, no wind, sunny
Noise level recording: Time 9.47 am (Normal conversation level, inside car) –> dB statistic on external hard drive)
- Street dynamic has changed as bicycles starting to disappear. Pedestrians take over.
- New kinds of play behaviour starting to emerge: more groups, people walking hand in hand, more people walking their dogs, more people on phones and window shopping.
- Data is listed in detail and recorded on external hard drive.
- try to record a 360 image
- through traffic for vehicles was partly possible (one side only)
In the afternoon results of playful behaviour have been added to the assessment matrix.
22nd September 2016
Arrival at Position Nr. one (Brandenburger Strasse corner Herman- Elflein Strasse)
Time: around 6.50 am
Weather: temperature in the morning 11 degrees cool, light wind, sunny
Noise level recording: Time 6:51 am (Loud singing, inside car, normal conversation)
Remarks on recording:
- much better in quality, richer and precise
- I am starting to record just useful data in combination with time of activity and visual assessment in relation to body weight.
- unable to contact and disrupt people in all kinds of play activity such as riding bike and listening to music and joggers
- pavement type has an impact on movement and kerbs in relation to demarcation
- through traffic was possible on one side only
- due to the location near a landmark building more people stopped here and engaged in playful behaviour (in the form of photography) than in any of the other positions. –> perhaps a direct correlation between objects (built environments) and the subject
Morning break between 8:40 am – 9.20 am
Second noise level test: 10:03 am (loud singing, insight car, automobile)
Due to the cool morning temperature the battery life became shorter, despite of the fact that I had one more battery I was urged to conclude observations around 1 pm.
–> need to get hold of at least two more battery packs. However I was able to use the afternoon to fill in the play matrix.
I was able to record until my batteries died. With the second microchip I can record now easily up to 10 hours of data. When exporting them onto the hard drive I am able to take high resolution screen shots of examples of playful behaviour. Also I can do an exact count of bicycles and pedestrians if required.
I found it difficult to leave the equipment behind and start unstructured interviews with people who displayed playful behaviour as there were suspicious individuals around, that could take advantage of the situation.
Also choosing my position based on the notion of available bench space may be not as optimal as vantage points. A small camping chair would be good to have.
The decision to drop the other street environments is due to the high amount of time it may take to storage, recharge and analysis the research data. This testing phase led me to the conclusion to drop two of the three subunits in each city in order to work with better quality data on a confined space. Otherwise I may need to spend carrying out research in each of them for 10-15 days (pending on weather condition) and almost the same time to analysis the data of each day.