Columbus Square Park, located in South Philadelphia, will soon be receiving a facelift in the form of an extensive redesign of many of its spaces and entrances. The concept plan, developed with substantial input from the Friends of Columbus Square and the larger community, is fully funded and anticipated to begin late spring of 2017, to be completed by the end of the year.
The Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department has retained Drexel’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and Westphal's Architecture and Interiors Professor Jason Austin to perform a study of users and uses prior to the Park's reconstruction. In 2018, the study will resume to observe the changes in the Park's use post-construction; both results will then be analyzed to gauge the efficacy of the park re-investment on usage and neighborhood quality of life. This public life study, in a similar vein to that completed by the University City District at 30th Street Station's Porch, builds off a movement towards quantifying the seemingly intangible metrics encompassing public space use and what effects these spaces have on their surroundings.
Three project surveyors will be present on-site during designated hours (generally from 9:00am to 9:00pm or earlier, depending on the season), to observe and gather data on park users and uses using survey instruments and protocols provided by the project manager. Surveyors will be required to participate in a paid orientation session prior to the data collection to be briefed on the survey methodology and protocol.
The employment for these temporary positions is intermittent, with 9 surveys scheduled per season (5 weekdays and 4 weekends per 1 to 3 month period). Candidates may participate in as many or as few survey session shifts as they wish, schedules permitting. Specific survey dates have not yet been selected, but the following schedule is expected:
- 9 Summer Surveys (September 2016) [12 & 6 hour shifts, 9:00am to 9:00pm]
- 9 Fall Surveys (October 2016) [10.5 & 6/4.5 hour shifts, 9:00am to 7:30 pm]
- 9 Winter Surveys (November 2016 through January 2017) [9 & 4.5 hour shifts, 9:00am to 6:00pm]
- 9 Spring Surveys (February to early May 2017) [10.5 & 6/4.5 hour shifts, 9:00am to 7:30 pm]
Surveyors will be working outdoors and are expected to dress accordingly. Surveys dates will be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather. Surveyors will be paid at a rate of $10/hour.
- Perform onsite, periodic sampling of quantitative and qualitative park user data including pedestrian counts, observed activities, arrival methods and locations, and other perceived demographics, using provided survey instruments (i.e. use charts).
- Administer onsite user surveys that ask questions concerning park satisfaction, perception, use, and user demographics. This survey will be administered onsite to randomly selected users. The survey and its instructions will be provided by the project manager.
- Record observations of park use for observed characteristics not included on the use chart and take notes on these phenomena, including unusual use patterns, duration of stay, and methods of arrival.
Qualifications: Ideal candidates will have a displayed interest in the design of civic spaces, public life, data gathering, and civic engagement, and should have strong written, verbal, and organizational skills. The candidate should also be a creative thinker and able to react in the moment to engage people who may not be initially inclined. An interest or background in urban planning, urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, or other allied field is a plus. Prior work experience on similar projects are beneficial but not a requirement. Fluency in Spanish and/or Vietnamese is an additional benefit for this specific project neighborhood, but also not required.
Department: Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation
Number of Positions: 10
Location: Columbus Square Park, South Philadelphia