Last week a fellow student (Giselle) and I went to the Terrazza del Cortone in Borgo Bello for an observational study. We explored the area for a little while – noticing changes in furniture and trash that come with a place being used, then we stayed for an hour to see how the terrace might be used (and by whom) on a typical Wednesday morning from 11:00 to 12:00. To our disappointment, we saw only three people who were getting into their cars at the top of the terrace. I can understand at that time of day there is not a particular reason for locals or tourists to visit as it was before lunchtime and most people were at work or school.
Besides the lack of people, Giselle and I greatly enjoyed being on the terrace with the sun high in the sky. When sunny, the stone becomes warm and very comfortable to sit on while looking at the view and/or talking with friends. I can imagine the atmosphere to be equally comfortable on the weekend during the daytime when more people might take to relaxing in the sun for an hour or so.
Our goal as a class this semester is to bring attention to the terrace and the surrounding area using placemaking methods. To do this we must first understand the current state of the terrace which involves knowing who frequents the area, when they frequent and what they do there. First-hand observations are important to capture a picture of what happens on the terrace at different times of the week. Though this style of research we gain both behavioral and qualitative information about the place. In “When to Use Which User-Experience Research Methods” by Christian Rohrer, he explains different types of researching methods that reveal how people feel about a product [place] like eyetracking and interviews. After collecting a few weeks of observational data, my class will have a better idea of what changes need to be made to make the terrace a more attractive place for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Pictured: Terrazza del Cortone during the observation hour, Wednesday 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Taken 04.10.2017