This Tuesday was a helpful start to urban planning, both its history and present manifestations. Deland did Roy’s presentations were valuable in demonstrating how the field has shifted and changed since it began in 1903 in New York, as well as how urban planning looks from a community development perspective today, especially within Chinatown. I was particularly interested about thinking through who gets to define what it means to have a high quality of life, as well as what the acceptable means are to achieve them. Although CCDC values lower-middle class residents, how do communities ensure that cities at large listen to the marginalized rather than simply pushing them to the side and ignoring their needs?
Subsequently, the afternoon was a good introduction on how to conduct an ethnography within an urban context, and what types of things are important to observe and take note of. It was enjoyable to be able to just sit back and witness movements, sounds, smells, sights, etc., without being in a large and extremely conspicuous group. However, it was still difficult to take unobtrusive notes without being noticed by others, and several of us were stared at or approached by curious bystanders. This led to a good conversation afterwards during the debrief in which we attempted to brainstorm potential solutions so as not to be as obvious because if people know they are being watched, they can behave differently than normal, which ruins the ethnography. One possibility was to take notes with phones, since this looks more normal in today’s society, while others suggested waiting until later to write down their notes.