Built Environment Descriptions

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Built Environment Descriptions | 300-600 Points

For this project, you will write 3 detailed built environment descriptions (100-200 points each):

  • Description of an interior site
  • Description of an exterior site
  • Description of a digital site

Compose more descriptions for more points (up to 100 points per submission, for a max total of 600 points for this project).

Your site descriptions will be created as blog posts on your WordPress site, in the category “Built Environment Descriptions,” and tagged appropriately (“Interior,” “Exterior,” or “Digital,” and “[Site Name]”). You will submit links to your built environment descriptions using the form on your WordPress site.

Due Dates

The three required built environment descriptions are due by the following dates:

  • Exterior Built Environment Description: 11:59 pm on February 12th
  • Interior Built Environment Description: 11:59 pm on March 4th
  • Digital Built Environment Description: 11:59 pm on April 1st

As long as you submit each of the required descriptions by the due date, you can submit extra built environment descriptions at any time until April 1st (for up to 100 points per extra description, up to a max total of 600 points for this project). Late summaries can be submitted for completion credit (but not for points, see late work policy below) until 11:59 pm on April 1st.

Instructions

How to compose a built environment description:

Project Purpose and Goals: This course explores how we can do close, analytical “reading”—which we can phrase alternately as the reading of visual rhetoric and the reading of the rhetoric of artifacts—of the environments and landscapes around us. In order to do this kind of close reading of the built environment, we need to train ourselves to see, and document or describe the details that provide the evidence for our analysis or interpretation of a given site.

This project is designed to help you develop your faculties of observation and multimodal description.

Instructional readings and models of built environment description:

Guidelines:

Choosing, observing, and documenting a site

You are required to spend at least one hour observing each of the three spaces you’re writing about for this project. If you choose a private site (i.e. a business) for the interior or exterior site description, you should get permission from the owner or manager to conduct your observation. You should explain the purpose of the project, and that it is a class project.

You will choose your site from the site list (link to spreadsheet for interior, exterior, digital). First choice of sites will go to the top five points earners from each section. Then, the remaining students in the top earning section will select their sites. Then site selection will open to the remaining students. If a site already has a name next to it in the spreadsheet, then it has been claimed and you need to pick another site.

In an ideal world, you would make many trips to your site. For this project, you are only required to make one trip to your site, spending one hour taking photos or video, and writing or recording notes.

During your visit, you are required to document the site in two ways:

  • Create at least five digital records to document the location you’ve chosen. Post these digital records to your blog–each as a separate blog post–with a brief (50-100 words) description of what they are. You can take pictures, create video, make sound recordings, scan brochures/menus/flyers
  • Take written or recorded voice notes in which you create an inventory or catalog of everything that you see, hear, smell, touch, or taste at the site

Use these questions to guide your process of documenting the site:

  • What artifacts or things are present at the site?
  • How are these artifacts or things arranged/located/stored?
  • What is the layout of your site?
  • Is it open and easy to navigate? Or is it closed, crowded with obstacles, etc.?
  • What colors are present in the space?
  • How does the site make you feel and why?
  • How is the site used? Who uses it?
  • How does the site advertise its uses? How does the site target or signal its intended users?

Other Characteristics to Note

Characteristics to Note

Style Aural Structure
Tone Visual Organization
Mood Oral Graphics
Diction Repetition Colors

You will archive each of your digital records as posts on your WordPress site, in the appropriate category (“Images,” “Sounds,”  “Artifacts & Signage”) tagging them appropriately (“Interior,” “Exterior,” or “Digital,” and “[Site Name]”).

You do not need to archive your notes, but if you do, you can earn points for good notes by creating a blog post of them in the category “Field Notes” and tagging it appropriately (“Interior,” “Exterior,” or “Digital,” and “[Site Name]”). You can also get extra credit for archiving extra digital records (10 per record) from your chosen locations. You submit extra credit posts using the form on your WordPress site. To receive credit, submissions must be properly tagged.

Composing your site description

After you have observed and documented each site, you will create a blog post on your WordPress site in which you compose a 250-500 word description of your site that answers the following questions:

  • What site are you describing?
  • Where is it located?
  • When was it created/built?
  • What artifacts or things are present at the site?
  • How are these artifacts or things arranged/located/stored?
  • What is the layout of your site?
  • Is it open and easy to navigate? Or is it closed, crowded with obstacles, etc.?
  • What colors are present in the space?
  • How does the site make you feel and why?
  • How is the site used? Who uses it?
  • How does the site advertise its uses? How does the site target or signal its intended users?

Rather than answering these questions in order, your site description should be in the form of a narrative that provides this information to interested readers of the general public. The description should integrate your digital records associated with the site.

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Submission Form

 

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