Sign Up to be a Community Researcher this Summer

Would you like to spend some time along the lakefront this summer while also helping the North DuSable Lake Shore Drive (NDLSD) project team better understand how people use the lakefront today?

Volunteer to be a community researcher for the Public Life Study on June 16 or June 18, 2022! As part of the Public Life Study, you will be observing human behavior along the lakefront. 

Help Us Complete the Public Life Study! Thursday, June 16 and Saturday, June 18 Sign up here to be a community researcher

Community researcher positions will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once all shift openings are filled, the Public Life Study signup will close. Confirmations will be sent to volunteers regarding dates, times, and locations for observations, and waitlisted volunteers will also be notified.

What is the Public Life Study?

The Public Life Study is an eye-level analysis of the relationship between human activity and the built environment. The study method, developed by Gehl, helps gain an understanding of how the quality of our built environments support public life, for people of all ages and abilities. The Public Life Study uses pedestrian counts and stationary activity observations to understand the everyday life of a place. The survey aims to answer simple questions such as: Who is invited to spend time? What do they do when they stop and stay? How is the quality of the space encouraging or discouraging certain kinds of behaviors? 

What will the community researchers be doing as part of the Public Life Study?

The Public Life Study is purely observational—researchers will not directly engage with other people. Community researchers will use the Gehl Public Life App installed on their own smart phone devices to count people moving and to map people staying in a specific lakefront location.

What will you do with the information obtained from the Public Life Study?

As part of the overall NDLSD project, the results from the Public Life Study will help to inform future lakefront access and design. These results will be used together with online survey responses, data analyses completed to date, and Task Force and community input.

What is the time commitment for the Public Life Study?

Each shift is 4 hours long and each volunteer is required to attend a 1-hour virtual training session.

Where will the observations take place?

We will conduct observations at 4 key locations along the lakefront. The locations include areas around: Montrose/Wilson, Belmont Harbor, LaSalle to Fullerton, and Oak Street Beach.

When will I be notified when/where my shift is?

We will reach out to you in late May with your shift time and location.

What do I need to bring?

You will need a smart phone to collect data through the Gehl Public Life App. You may also want to bring a chair or blanket so that you can sit as needed, and an external charger if needed to charge your phone during the 4-hour shift. Water and a snack is also recommended. An email with additional reminders and tips will be sent to all community researchers in early June 2022.

We look forward to seeing you along the lakefront this summer!

The North DuSable Lake Shore Drive Project Team

Please stay up to date with the project with the social media links below and our website: