Maddie and Fidel went into North Fair Oaks on Tuesday morning and solicited surveys from Plaza Jewelers and Fiesta Auto Insurance. We tried to return to Elsa’s Salon but the owner was unhappy that we came back again. Matt and Fidel visited North Fair Oaks again on Friday morning for the last round of fieldwork, interviewing owners and employees of Piñata Surprise, Computer Repair, and Donut Depot. This time, each person with whom we talked was very welcoming and shared even more information than the surveys required. We had informative conversations, and have now collected a total of 6 written survey responses for Urban Habitat/Faith in Action. All of the completed surveys, as well as businesses who allowed us to take audio recordings, will be represented on the finished GIS map. We are also finalizing our literature review, as well as updating the appearance of our map and plan to rehearse for our presentation practice-run on Monday.
What We Observed and Learned
While two out of the three interviews conducted during the Friday morning visits corroborated the notion of rising rents contributing to small business displacement, we were surprised to learn that Donut Depot hadn’t been nearly as negatively affected as other local businesses. The owner, Chun Tang who immigrated to the US in 1985 from Cambodia, has operated the small coffee and donut shop with his wife for over 20 years, and proudly remarked that they were always the first ones to submit rent checks to the landlord, whose name or contact information he did not know. He explained that because he kept good relations with his landlord, he’s never had any problems with unexpected rent increases. Mr. Tang also maintained that business was still booming for him, and although his main clientele consisted of the local Hispanic population, recently he’s seen a few more tech employees frequent his shop. He’s neither noticed a significant change in the surrounding businesses or the clientele, and has served the same coffee and donuts since 1995 (which Matt and Fidel sample on a weekly basis).Though increasing rent has undeniably plagued the North Fair Oaks area, it’s interesting to see how some businesses soldier on unaffected, with little regard for the chaos ensuing around them. Below is a photo of some North Fair Oaks businesses, and one can see how similar they are to the San Mateo ones we visited earlier:
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
As Friday concluded our survey collection, we now have all the information we need to complete the CartoDB website for our final deliverable. We’ve digitized the surveys and are displaying snippets of the responses on the interactive map. The weekend should give us some time to prepare for the presentation trial run during Monday’s class, and we’ve also begun work on the final written report. The workshop on Wednesday was very helpful for our website since we learned how to better use CartoDB. We received great suggestions such as implementing two buttons that when clicked will zoom in to the areas that we have surveys from (i.e. North Fair Oaks and San Mateo). We tried to connect the survey directly to CartoDB but it ended up not working due to the format that CartoDB uses, so we decided that we will clean the data ourselves.