Fellowship Reflection #1 – Luis

We all know starting something new can have it’s challenges but our fellows have truly hit the ground running. They’ve been hard at work on research to better understand the spaces and our team. Each month, we’ll check in with the fellows to learn more about how things are going for them. We’ll hear about the highs/lows, challenges/opportunities, and hopefully get more insight into what it’s like working in the public spaces. Stick around!

Entry #1 – Luis Garcia

What projects/initiatives have you worked on during the last month?

The first few weeks have been an exciting opportunity to understand more profoundly how city operations work. I have been able to hear from city officials and other public servants about their everyday operations and the addressed challenges. On the other hand, I conducted a series of observations in the four public spaces and the Trail to define my focus area and the audience. Also, I have been testing different data collection tools at concerts and specific sections of the Trail. That has informed my project development proposal, which I will be presenting soon. In the following weeks, I will develop a project proposal that will map people’s experiences and set the ground for ongoing studies in the public space.


What challenges have you had? 

During the last couple of weeks, I noticed that I was getting lost trying to reach too many audiences and problems. The scale of the public spaces and the wide variety of audiences has been challenging to understand. The strategy to overcome this challenge has involved using some of my previous knowledge about challenge mapping, which allows you to find the right balance between tactical and strategic actions. For my project proposal, and after the team’s feedback, I hope to have a clear sense of my project scope for the following months.

What successes have you had?

I would say that a small success has been watching people interact with a few data collection tools that we placed around the Canal. When we mapped the sections to identify them, we were thinking about strategic locations and navigation sites. However, we could not know until we have seen people noticing them or not. It has been nice to see they are starting to get some attention, and I am excited to see the responses in the following weeks. Another success has happened after some one-to-one sessions with team members regarding my project ideas. It definitely feels good to know that I have a good idea of the path I will be taking in the following months.

What will you be working on next?

My main task for next week involves the project proposal presentation. After that meeting, I expect to finalize a clear schedule and starting completing tasks. I also feel that a lot of my work will be led by the research itself, so that I may find new activities or shifts from my original plan.

Any out of the ordinary/funny/unexpected stories?

The one-to-one team meetings have been a fantastic source of knowledge. The team members’ past experiences are so different and so well connected for where they are now. I am excited to keep learning from each and help them with any ideas or experience I bring. Also, during observations or fieldwork, you always find some funny or out of the ordinary situation. From watching people dancing at the most unexpected places during a concert to finding random objects in areas of the Trail, knowing that every day brings something different is a good motivation for the next few months.