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Project overview Initial research questions Research methodologies Walking tours Garbage picking Interviews Photographic surveys Final set of research questions Walk the wall Affanitizing Insights/ How might we’s Model Presentations Intro to Design Ethos 2012

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PROJECT OVERVIEW A contribution to the Waters Avenue Revitalization project through an in-depth Ethnographic Inquiry in the particular community corridor. The project involved thorough research, to get familiarized with the area. The class exhausted all resources of information through secondary sources... We then took a deep dive in to the site. We practiced photographic surveys, walks, numerous interview with all stakeholders, walking tours, community activities.... The insights and patterns identified will lay a foundation for the design phase.

1. secondary research -exploring the local culture - design thoughts, strategies 2. primary research 4. insights and how might we’s

- affinitizing information, developing models

- raising community’s voice

- engaging with the community

3. reconfiguring project prospects and premise


INITIAL RESEARCH QUESTIONS What do we need to know? What are we looking for? What information is important to our project? What questions do we need to ask in order to holistically understand the area?

RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES Secondary Research Primary research - Walking Tours - Immersive Activities e.g. garbage picking, prompts, artifacts - Interviews - Photographic Surveys Presented on the next few pages are glimpses of few research activities.


walking tours; independent and also led by community members.



garbage picking with Miss Amy- a community member. another approach towards immersive inquiry



interviews conducted with numerous community members...



photographic surveys



FINAL SET OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS What is a day in the life? What is the ideal situation for the community? How do outside businesses see Waters Avenue? Where do people interact? What is the connection between people and place? How does Savannah see Waters Avenue? How do adjacent neighborhoods see Waters Avenue? Who/what is the community? How do systems outside the community affect the culture? How do people maintain their lifestyles? Where is Waters Avenue?


DATA TO INFORMATION After collecting all the data, conducting several interviews and even along the way all the information was put on the walls of, what we called ‘War Room’.

We ‘Walked the Walls’ of the room, 1000’s of post-its, even more photographs, transcripts, quotes...and let the data speak to us.


Collaborators: Jerome Medows - Local artist and community agent for the 400lb baby project Marina - SCAD student


After going through all the data again and several sessions of group discussions and we affinitized the data into sets of buckets to identify patterns and re-develop research questions. The buckets or research categories were A.E.I.O.U.

Image credits: pg 36 - Screen shots from Design Ethos website pg 37 - Design Ethos website pg 38 - Design Ethos Team ArtMe’s presentation pg 39 - Screen shot from vimeo


INSIGHTS We let the data speak to us and heard the community and based on that developed insights. These insights also helped with design ideas.

1. The community is neglected, frustrated, and burned out. HOW MIGHT WE...

Instill faith and inspiration back into the skeptic, the disheartened, and exhausted? Rekindle and focus the energy of committed long-time residents.

2. Accountability does not exist. Break down the walls between government and constituents?


Make the priorities of the community a priority in government? Break down the perception of Waters Avenue into measurable goals?


3. There are disconnects Organize and prioritize the interests of a diverse community? Break down the barriers preventing holistic community action?


Deconstruct preconceived notions preventing unification?

Create a platform for discussion with a shared language and interest?

4. The positives are not being celebrated.

Preserve the culture, history, and identity by celebrating the stories and memories of long-time residents.


Amplify successes instead of focusing on problems. Instigate future change by utilizing present structures. Change the meaning of Waters Avenue. Foster pride and commitment in the area’s residents and Savannah



After revisiting our process, data and insights we developed models for each of the research categories. Here is one that illustrates the aspects of life in Waters Avenue.



Johnson presentation Posted on Thursday, November 24th, 2011 at 4:47 am. Written by admin Professor Sara Jo Johnson’s graduate Contextual Research class (DMGT), has spent the last 10 weeks studying the corridor and interacting with its residents. Her class will present their finding twice this week: • Thursday, at 9am, in the graduate space at Gulfstream Center. This presentation is open to anyone, and will include members of the Waters Avenue Business Association within the audience. • Friday, 10am, at the Savannah Entrepreneurial Center (801 E. Gwinnett Street–Corner of Gwinnett and Paulsen). All are welcome to this presentation as well. This second presentation will have in its audience the City Manager of Savannah, the Director of Comprehensive Planning from the MPC, and other City staff members.



The insights and findings from the research informed the Design Ethos conference and do-ference which included work sessions. More information on the conferences can be viewed on the web site One of the teams during the conference came up with an idea is called the 400lb Baby Adoption Association. The idea is to reclaim the abandoned planters within the Waters Avenue and use them to connect with people and promote civic leadership and community ownership. More detail on that can be seen in another file from my library called ‘400lb Baby’.



IDUS 711. Methods of Contextual Research. Fall 2011

Ethnography- Waters Avenue Revitalization project  

Study of Waters Avenue corridor through in-depth ethnographic research of develop understanding of the community and to make informed design...

Ethnography- Waters Avenue Revitalization project  

Study of Waters Avenue corridor through in-depth ethnographic research of develop understanding of the community and to make informed design...