great thoughts, sara. i fully believe that (ideally) the built environment should always be in response to the needs of the people; users should be directly involved in planning and creating the things they interact with on a daily basis. lugo is totally right in looking at these issues through an ethnographic lens because it forces us (those with the power to act, to build) to observe firsthand the habits of citizens and get to know them through their actions. observation and discussion with users reveals the nuance you talk about – commuters, pleasure riders, those with no car – rather than lumping everyone into a collective “cyclist” pot.
this is why i love design processes, because designers are (hopefully) taught to privilege the audience, the person using the “thing” they are creating. ethnography plays a role, as well as documentation, interviews, design prototyping, discussion with users about that prototype, and on and on. it’s really the only way to build things that have true value, utility, and resulting beauty. plus, an inclusive process respects the audience rather than makes assumptions. it is flat and collaborative rather than hierarchical and condescending.
Thanks for the reply, Tyler! Flat and collaborative=agreed. There are so many zoning laws, rules, and habits that are formed around how we build the world around us. It’s refreshing to hear your designer perspective.
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