Focus on Focus Groups

This week all 16 of us are participating in two focus groups with tenants from 240 Central Park South to better understand what they are interested in as tenants.

As students, artists and interlopers we can only glimpse a slice of life at 240 CPS and to help us understand a bit more we turn to the age old technique of asking and chatting.

Paraphrasing, these are some of the points that help me best understand what life was like for the four tenants we spoke with:

“240 CPS is like the center of the world to me, everywhere I go is relative to here.”

“It’s hard knowing your neighbors, it’s much easier to know their dogs.”

“The staff here are wonderful and seeing the doorman every day, coming and going, makes life here just a little more pleasant.”

“Technology is great in the building, but I kind of miss having to talk with the front desk and checking for mail and packages. Instead we just get emails now.”

“Noise is unbearable, and it’s the one thing that might make me move. The changed traffic patterns and constant construction have made it difficult to find peace.”

You can see more of what my classmates noticed in the same focus groups by looking at Phil Groman’s post on it, or Engin Ayaz’s recap.

The Power of Observation…

Sensitive Building’s is about understanding as much as it is about creating. To that end, Rob Faludi, our professor and ITP Alumni, first assigned us to simply observe.

After chatting with Michelle Boisson, my classmate and partner on this project, we decided to try to head down Ground Zero on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to observe people as they experience the site. We first arrived at the Cortland Street Station but we meandered south from there to the edge of Zucotti Park, on the corner Trinity Place and Liberty Street where last year Occupy Wall Street had encamped.


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We had originally planned on going straight to the memorial just a block away but it was closed to the public for family of the victims of the attacks. This turned out to be fortuitous since a second part of our observation exercise was to have another group from class go to the same location at a later date and observe what they could. Our counterparts, Michael Uzzi and Gavin Hackeling decided to attend on the following Sunday and Monday which happened to be the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Our observations can be seen in the presentation below.