What does it mean for students in the spatial disciplines (outside of anthropology, sociology, and history) to engage human subjects as primary sources of evidence? How can students in design, planning, and preservation both learn from the social sciences and transform classic ethnographic and historical methods to address the unique contexts of buildings, landscapes, and cities? This class focuses on how to conduct built environment research that views human subjects as repositories of knowledge and critical sources of primary evidence. We will explore research on the history of the built environment (dependent on maps, plats, documentation of sites) and human centered research as we design—collectively—best practices and spatially oriented interview and observation techniques. We will address multiple scales (sidewalks, commercial store fronts, post offices, neighborhoods) as we problematize human experience, perception, and knowledge of the built world.
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