This week, our group met with Adina and Elaine to discuss the first draft of our paper. This was our last in-person meeting with our stakeholders, excluding the oral presentation on Wednesday. Overall, they were impressed with our first efforts and gave us some insightful comments to refine the paper. We finished the Faces of Palo Alto project and are now entirely focused on the research paper. However, we are struggling to articulate the research in a coherent manner. There is a lot of jargon we are unfamiliar with, and are therefore relying on input from our stakeholders. If we complete a draft in the next few days, we may even be able to ask Hillary Gitelman for feedback. As for the data, we were told to isolate demographic groups by locality and employment. Adina and Elaine are interested in people’s shifting housing/transportation preferences as you move outward from Palo Alto. In response to these requests, we designed a commuter map showing the housing and workplace distribution of local and non-local workers.
Our team will submit a second draft paper to Adina and Elaine early next week. Hopefully, we will receive comments prior to the oral presentation in order to make last minute changes as needed. We will complete the final paper by the end of dead week. As for the presentation, our group is meeting for two hours this Saturday to fix slides and rehearse. Lastly, we will submit a google doc containing all of our data and methods to Deland, Adina, and Elaine this coming week.
Issues and Discussion:
The online surveys did not contribute valuable data to our research project. Unfortunately, our group released the editing form rather than the survey itself. As a result, we had to resend the survey later than anticipated and only collected nine surveys. Though we appreciated the 10% increase in data, our results did not change significantly. We cannot say for sure how this impacts the bias of our research. However, an online demographic would have expanded our sample set, and likely provided a younger age pool.
We received numerous comments regarding the connectivity of public transit in Palo Alto. Similar to bus schedules, transit connectivity is apparently difficult to access. People would be more willing to commute via public transit with more knowledge and assurance about the system itself. In our last meeting, we discussed the influence of smartphone technology on the reliability of using public transit. An interesting research project for future students could observe the value in certain apps and websites for public transit users. The hypothesis being that there may be a correlation between rider satisfaction and smartphone usage. This can trace back to cultural and economic inequalities. Do public transit systems favor smartphone owners, increasing the potential cost of the consumer to reliably travel? We believe that the improvements to both transit systems and people’s understanding of the systems will result in higher rider densities.
Considering next steps, a future research group may consider conducting research to identify solutions to our observed housing and transportation findings. An economic assessment of housing projects aimed at increasing a local working class could be valuable. However, any research concerning housing projects should also summarize Palo Alto zoning policies to identify which housing projects are actually feasible. Shifting from data driven research to large scale implementation will require an interdisciplinary approach and a diverse project team. As we discovered, the more input a team uses the more beneficial the project can be to society. Input can come from consultants, professors, policy makers, and local residents.
We are excited to share our work with all of you this coming week. The class has been a valuable learning experience, and we wanted to thank Adina and Elaine for all the help.