Is It a Bird
EMILIE STUHR ANDERSEN
Is It a Bird
We live in a world where we tend to categorize, quantify and measure a wide array of everyday aspects - from kWh consumption in our homes to Facebook-likes. We argue that this urge to categorize and standardize is problematic as we run the risk of oversimplifying reality. Based on an ethnographic field study of what a ‘clean journey’ means to train passengers we illustrate the gap between the Danish Railroad Company's cleaning standards and passenger experiences. By contrasting these standards with passenger experiences and attitudes we answer the question: What is left out, when service providers decide to categorize and measure lived reality? We suggest that rather than ‘cleaning up’ the complexities of human nature and perception, we must recognize and embrace them and find ways to integrate them into our categories and standards.
Line Groes is the CEO and founder of IS IT A BIRD – A strategic innovation agency based in Denmark....
ANNIKA PORSBORG NIELSEN and LINE GROES
This paper discusses the merits and challenges of user-centered urban development projects, and what it means to apply an ethnographic approach to the study of urban spaces and the way people use them. We draw primarily on an ethnographic project carried out in two cemeteries in Copenhagen. The project focused on the involvement of local citizens – both everyday users of the cemeteries, as well as locals who do not use these urban spaces. We discuss the challenges and opportunities of ethnography in a complex space such as a cemetery, and consider additional ways to incorporate citizens into projects that have a direct impact on their lives. We conclude with a discussion of the project learnings and their implications for future urban planning....
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