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2017 > 06

Today I did my first study in Malmö and even if see this is my home city it brought me several surprises. First of all, I had planned to go to a street called Friis Gatan, which is a street with several food places and cute stores, but when I arrived there I found out that the section of the street that I was going to study has been pedestrianized...This technically a good thing according to me but as I was going to use it as my "destination street" it wasn't as great. Because one of my criteria for the "destination streets" is that cars are still allowed. Therefore, I had to quickly change my plan. So, I turned my feet toward Davidshall's square hoping to make it for my 08.00 a clock start.

I did make it and I was looking forward to seeing several people walking by. However, this became my second surprise, as there was almost no one there...Instead, I spend most of the time watching my clock hoping that the time would pass a little bit faster. 

Although, those who did come by were mainly on their bikes, which was another surprise. I used to walk by this square every day during high school and I don't remember there being that many bikes. Instead, I remember it as a place to buy vintage or get a coffee. It might still be that way, but during the morning hours, it seems to have become more of a bike route.

All of these surprises have reminded me that cities can change fast and one should never assume that one knows a place just because one grew up there. Therefore, I'm now even more excited about the study in Malmö and to see what else I can find out about my old home town.

Etiketter: sweden, streetact

In terms of reaching the highest percentage of smoking people, Glasgow will definitely be the winner. At least among the cities that I've been studying. A good example of this was today's study. I went to one of those little squares that you can find between office buildings and its prime use was not coffee shopping instead it was smoking. People would sit by themselves and with a cigarette and then go back into work. I'm not entirely sure why there are so much more people smoking in this city, but it is definitely a massive shift from Singapore.

This pattern has also made me wonder if you could encourage/discourage smoking by how you design a city? Or if smoking is too much of a behavioral thing that needs to be worked on in other ways? At the moment I can not give you an answer but I will definitely keep on thinking about that one.

Etiketter: glasgow, streetact

By now I have spent a few mornings outside different libraries and I have to say that it is an interesting experience. People gather up before the doors open and make it look as if there is some kind of big event happening. First to arrive are usually a group of homeless, they are followed by some older men (who most likely are there to do research) after that comes the younger crowd (who might be there to study) and last to arrive before the doors open are the moms with a pile of books to return. Why people are eager to be the first to arrive I'm not entirely sure, however, this gathering can easily begin an hour before opening time...

As this is a clear trend I'm actually wondering why people don't do something to make these people's wait more interesting? In Glasgow the doors are wooden so you can not see inside, there is no information for anyone to read and there is not even a bench in the street to sit on. In addition to that, it is a road that has little traffic and therefore could potentially become pedestrianized. I'm simply wondering how come no one does anything to enhance these people's wait. I'm not sure, but maybe this is an opportunity that someone will soon jump on.

Etiketter: glasgow, streetact

This morning I did the "green street" study, i.e. a study in a park-like street. As Glasgow doesn't have the exact type of street that I was looking for I went to Kelvingrove Park. It is a long park used by people trying to make shortcuts or looking for a place to hang out. Personally, I mainly use it day time and therefore I have never seen Kelvingrove's rush hour. 

But, now I have and it made me realize that it is a popular bike route in the morning. There were many bikes swooshing by and it actually felt pretty dangerous as there is no actual bike lane. I didn't see any accident but I'm sure there must be weekly ones. After having lived in the city I already knew that it's not a great city to bike in and many of my friends have been in accidents. Therefore, I understand why people choose the park over the roads. Although, in the long run, I don't see it as a solution, so I hope that Glasgow will wake up and put in more bike lanes soon. Or the danger might move from the car streets to the park?

Etiketter: glasgow, streetact

To give you a visual of where I am at the moment. Here are a few pictures from around Glasgow.

Etiketter: glasgow, photography

Being back in a city where walking is a common way of commuting there are also more headphone filled ears on the sidewalks than in Fort Worth and LA. I have already talked about the pros and cons with this "walk-commuters" habit. However, I have not talked about what you could listen to if you make the decision to use headphones when walking. Therefore, here is a small list of some podcasts and music that I enjoy.

PODS

English
The Urbanist by Monocle Magazine
Between Worlds by Mike Walsh
Swedish
Framgångspodden
Säker Stil 
Trettio Plus Trevar

MUSIC
Gorillaz
Chords
Beach Boys
Bon Iver
Laleh

Etiketter: favorite, streetact, glasgow
It feels great to be back in Europe to do the study. The streets here are full of people and there is simply more to see and think about. Therefore, I am looking forward to this week when I get to focus on my study again.

By now I have completed two studies in Glasgow and I can already tell you that the daily traveling habits here are very different from America. People walk and walk and walk even if it's raining, windy and hilly. Walking is basically a form of commuting and it isn't strange to walk everywhere instead of taking the car. It basically doesn't seem to be much that can stop people from going outside. However, I am hoping that I will get a morning with nice weather soon in order to see if there are more people out on these days or if it stays the same. 

Even if the rain doesn't seem to affect people's behaviors, it has stopped me from taking pictures of my locations. Therefore, I will go out this afternoon to take a few, so stay tuned for some Glasgow pics.
Etiketter: glasgow, streetact

By now you might be aware of the fact that my ongoing street study looks at how people behave in streets during rush hour when not traveling inside a car. However, I haven't talked very much about the method behind it. Therefore I thought it was about time to do so, especially as I'm about to start my fourth one in Glasgow this week.

I have tried to write out what I do step by step and I hope it will make sense and be relatively interesting. So, here we go!

 

  1. Choose what street and what block on the street I like to go to. I have a few different "types" of streets that I try to find in each city. Ex. a street with plenty of residential buildings leading to major public transportation station.
  2. 08.00-08.30 observe and count the people and their behavior. More specifically these ones: people walking, people walking with headphones, phone, both, food, dog, or company, people biking, people exercising, people on a skateboard, people with a personal mobility device, and people who are sitting down.
  3. 08.30-09.00 count physical objects in the street. Ex. benches, trees traffic lights etc.
  4. 09.00-09.30 observe and count people.again
  5. 09.30-10.00 take pictures, write down general observations 
  6. Go home and type up the data, count the percentages, analyze the map of the area and write out the general observations.
  7. Make some sort of conclusion and write a post for the blog 
It took a while before this became my method as I haven't done studies like this before but it was purposeful. I wanted to allow myself to make some changes as I learned more about what I was doing and I think it helped me to stay on my toes in terms of figuring out how to do it better next time around. Today I have also read Jan Gehl's book "Public Life Study" which has made me realize that when I do it the next time, there are a few things that I would like to change. Ex. I would like to go back to the same street several times rather than constantly changing street. I hope you found that interesting and helpful. 

Below is a picture describing the data from Singapore and LA.
Etiketter: streetact

I thought that it was about time for another favorites list. This time it comes from LA and I hope you might find it inspiring if you're heading over there anytime soon.

Café
Sage 
This vegan bistro is equally good for lunch and dinner as for some raw cake and coffee. It is in the middle of Echo Park and the atmosphere inside is relaxed but vibrant and the food never disappoints. Their weekend brunch is popular too.
The Smile’s Di Alba
Located on a street with fun boutiques this is a perfect place for a break or lunch. Their topped focaccia squares are a must and so is the coffee.
Groundworks
This chain has spots all over town however it still feels intimate. They are famous for their coffee but they also have great breakfast & snack alternatives.

Restaurants
Grand Central Market
This old brick building houses countless of food stands from all over the world. They are known for their Mexican vendors and a place called Eggslut but I kept going back for the avocado toast at Clark Street Bread.
Papilles
DO NOT MISS this one! It doesn’t look like much from the outside but it is much more than you can imagine inside. Their menu is simple changes constantly but it focuses on West European cuisine. The same when it comes to the wine but the staff is happy and likes to tell you about it. 
Manuel
Situated inside the courtyard of Hauser & Wirth Gallery this slightly more pricey restaurant has an exciting menu focusing on Mexican and American flavors but in a modern way. If you’re not hungry go for one of their tasty drinks and enjoy the happy and hip atmosphere.

Drinks
Arts District Brewing Company
Are you a fan of beer and like to discover new flavors, then this is for you. This experimental brewery has an endless list of beer on tap perfect to enjoy on their terrace during the sunset.
Courage & Craft
I didn’t bar hop very much in LA, however, I picked up a bottle of wine every now and then to enjoy on our balcony. My favorite place to get it from was Courage & Craft. Their collection is small but interesting and very price worthy.

Architecture
Eames House
I definitely wish that I could live here. With a view over the ocean, the Eames Foundation has remained the house as it was when the Eames couple lived here and even if they are no longer there you can feel their presence within the simple but specific architecture. 
Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual Arts
This playful concrete building can be seen from Downtown but it is worth the detour to see it up close. Try to get into the courtyard to see it properly but if your company get board they can check out the skaters that like to gather around it. 
LACMA
This museum is worth to visit for its art but if you don’t feel like paying the entrance fee, head over to see it out from the outside. There are several buildings and some exterior sculptures that you don’t have to pay to see.

Art
Hammer
This art museum is free of charge and brings in the less ordinary artists. With galleries surrounding an internal courtyard the building has a calming effect and is a great space to experience art in.
Shulamit Nazarian
This is a smaller gallery that opened only in 2006. However, they have already moved to a new larger location. It is in Hollywood and has many nice places for food and drinks nearby too. 
Hauser & Wirth Gallery
This gallery is one of the more high-end galleries in the arts district. However, their spread out galleries can showcase both small and large exhibitions and is definitely a place I enjoy visiting.

Hikés
LA is known for their many hiking trails but I only walked along one. It is the one that leads up to the Griffith Observatory. There are several different routes that take you to the top. They are all worth the view that also includes the Hollywood sign. There is another path starting by the observatory that leads all the way to the sign. If you don’t like to go there you can walk down again and head to one of the cafés in the hipster like Loz Feliz.

Etiketter: favorite, los angeles

One of the most common walks to make in America is the one between a parking spot and a building. In the morning one can see streams of people walking from a garage to their office and at weekends people hoard between shops and their car. Therefore, where parking is located very much determine where people walk and what they will see on their way. 

The closer parking is to one's destination the more likely one is to use it. How much it costs is also important as well as the opening hours of the garage. However, if the distance increased people would maybe get more used to walking a few blocks and leave their car when going short distances.

One way to make this happen might be if companies bought free parking for their employees a few blocks away from their office? Then the employees wouldn't have to pay and they might be more willing to walk the slightly longer distance to reach their office. I am not sure, however, it could be an interesting experiment to try out in order to transition from cars to walking.

So, to conclude maybe we could transform the walk between cars and buildings as a first step to make people consider other forms of transportation.

Etiketter: streetact, fort worth
Two weeks ago I helped two friends to move from Texas to Boston. This made me realize how differently young people in the States move in comparison to me, mainly because of the car.

To bring a car is basically as central as putting a bed in the bedroom. Therefore Americans tend to make long road trips in order to move both themselves and their car somewhere new. Young students also own cars, so they also move by bringing their car around. I do understand the positives about it as it allows one to leave when one likes, sleep in the car on the way and bring as much as one can possibly fit into the car.

However, if we like to create cities with fewer cars this becomes problematic. Because ones the car is there it is easy to jump into it instead of pulling out the bike or walk. So, maybe one of the reasons to why American cities are car centered is the fact that people in all ages move from place to place with their car? I am not sure but it is something our three-day road trip from Texas to Boston made me realize.
In Nashville during our road trip to Boston In Nashville during our road trip to Boston

Sorry for my lack of update lately. I've been moving my friends from Texas to Boston and we're currently renovating and fixing up their place. So, I haven't had time to do my street study or to write here. However, this weekend I'll try to make a few posts about what I've seen and done during the journey. 

Stay tuned!

Etiketter: starting out, community



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