Negotiating in-situ and virtual research: experiencing the residential environment from a distance

Authors: Ori Gershon*, PhD candidate,Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology , Mor Shilon, PhD, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, UC San Diego, Efrat Eizenberg, PhD, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology , Yosef Jabareen, PhD, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Topics: Qualitative Research, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: qualitative research, virtual data collection, residential experience, high-rise
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 19
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper negotiates in-situ and virtual approaches to qualitative research of residential experience of high-rise large urban developments. Due to embedded technology in these emerging urban developments, this setting is particularly interesting for deliberating opportunities and limitations of a qualitative research in a reality of social distancing and limited access to research sites.
The discussion is based on a research of vertical living in three cities in Israel, drawing mainly on walk-along interviews and observations pre-COVID19 and new tools that were generated since. Three qualitative research tools, that became central since COVID19, addressing physical, social, and digital aspects of the current dwelling experience will be presented.
First, the ‘Online-interaction Analysis’ is based on a critical discourse analysis of residents’ correspondences in social-media groups addressing the residential environment. Second, ‘Spatial Visualization’ focuses on residents’ daily practices through video photographed tour made by informants/researchers and analyzed by visual features. Third, ‘Sense-led Urban Experience’ traces people’s nonrepresentational interactions with their lived environment. By asking the informants to choose and document (by recordings, photographs, material objects) one sense that characterizes their dwelling experience, this open-ended method places the immediate experience of space and the informants’ representation of it at the center of analysis.
This study is timely as it considers the limitations and opportunities of qualitative epistemologies in learning the field of research, interacting with informants, and generating insights on socio-spatial relations in a period of dramatic transformations.

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