Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nov 17

1. I observed Stadium Drive Apartments which is in Western Michigan's Campus. Stadium Drive Apartments is an apartment complex that provides housing for students who do not want to stay in the dorms or who may want to live with more of their friends. I observed Stadium Drive Apartments on a Saturday night.
2. Stadium is a clean apartment complex with minimal seating. There were lots of people who were walking around. It seems useless to have seating in the complex itself as people are going to go to the apartments anyway. The sidewalks are large and there is grass around the area. It seems as if everything is used as a walkway, no one really cared. The apartment rooms themselves were nicely furnished. There were tile floors and carpet. I really have no idea what materials were used to build everything, building materials? Cinder blocks, dry wall, wood, etc. The sound level was extremely high as the noises were emanating from every room and building.
3. I think that these apartments try to provide an affordable alternative to the regular dorm rooms. I do not think that this area gives off a good image for Western Michigan University.
4. People were extremely friendly at the time. There were those who were a little rowdy but they just need to be ignored. It seems that almost everything in the area can be used as some sort of chair/bed. If it's a nice flat surface then people will sit on it or lie down.
5. There really is not anything interesting about this complex. There was just only one curious thing, I saw a play structure in the area which is strange thing to have for a college.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nov. 14

1. I think that design affects marketing in a huge way. For instance, Rolls Royce is not going to advertise their cars to the average American family. If an expensive, high class product is going to be designed, the marketing strategy will be aimed at the people that can afford them. I find it interesting that the majority of the higher end products do not do that much advertising, people just seem to already know about them and everything gets around via word of mouth.
2. I think that when a company shows a commercial of their product, it displays a certain experience that a person could have with this product. I was watching a Jeep commercial where the occupants look like they were having the time of their lives, it looked and felt like they were riding a roller coaster. The commercial even had the sound effects of a roller coaster playing in the background. It is these sorts of experiences that people think about when they see that brand. For the most part, these products will probably not deliver that experience. Will driving a Jeep give you a fun experience? If you think being on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck is fun, then yes. Will getting a huge flat screen make you the most popular person in your group of friends? Probably only on game day. Will spraying Axe all over your body transform you into a McDreamy? Never.
3. I think that the most important element of Kalamazoo College is that it is a small liberal arts school. The small campus, small class sizes all scream small school. Even the schools largest classes are considered tiny by a large schools such as Michigan.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Monday Nov. 10

1. A "Third Place" is an area that is separate from the work area and the home. It's a place where people can go to hang out with friends such as a coffee house or a bar. It is a place where people can meet together and talk. One place that worked as a "third place" for me during the summer was a juice bar in Downtown Birmingham called Tropical Squeeze.
2. I think that a successful "third place" is a place where many people go and talk with one another. A place that has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. If this place is quiet the people are not mingling, it's a failure. I think places like restaurants are not really "third places" because no one randomly sits down and starts talking to one another. A third place needs to be a place where people can just start talking to one another without actually knowing them; like a bar.
3. I think that the lounges in Trowbridge could be a successful Third Place. There are usually some people at the lounges but they never seem packed with people. I think that the lounges could be more popular if the library was not so close to all the dorms. The majority of students will be found studying in the lounges however, I think that everyone would rather study and work at the library because it is close and a very nice library.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Friday Nov. 7

1. I thought that some of the author's main points were how to attract people to a plaza. I thought that Whyte had many interesting points. One interesting thing that I read was how women and men interact with a plaza differently. A woman is more likely to scout the area while a man is usually going to sit down where ever. I thought it was amusing, it reminded me of the different ways a man and a woman would shop. Another thing that I thought was interesting was how people would venture away from the plaza if their building was in it. On reason was to "put some space between themselves and their boss." Another thing that I thought was very interesting but not that surprising was how a popular plaza would have more women than men. Whyte linked the high proportion of women would mean that the plaza was a nice place to be. There seem to be a noticeable discrepancy in seating between men and women. Men tend to sit at the front and women will tend to sit in secluded areas. However, it seems that the men will sit around the women.
2. There seem to be a few differences betweeen the design of an urban space and a consumer product. I thought it was extremely interesting that the aesthetics of a plaza really did not matter and that aesthetics are extremely important to consumer products. Perhaps this is due to the fact that a plaza is mainly used for behavioral uses, not reflective or visceral. Another thing that was surprising was that the surroundings were not important at all. Whyte writes about how at first he thought that perhaps the surrounding buildings had something to do with the popularity of a plaza. In fact, his research showed that the surroundings have almost nothing to do with the popularity of a plaza because people are looking at things that are eye level, not looking up at the buildings. This seems to contradict the design concepts for a consumer product, the surrounding of a product is its package, an extremely important part of the product.
3. If I were designing a plaza I would make sure that it was in the center of the city. I would also make sure that there were ample places to sit and more importantly, that the seating was comfortable. I would have a plaza that was not sunken because it is disattractive to people. I would make sure that the plaza is appealing to women because if the women enjoy being in the plaza, men will follow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 5

1. I thought that Downtown Kalamazoo was a very nice area. There was a variety of of stores that sold different things. One store that I had some interest in was the sports store, Gazelles. Another thing that I liked about Downtown Kalamazoo was the size of the sidewalks and the bricks that were laid out. The area was a very clean place and there was a police station nearby, this made the area feel like a very safe place.
2. I would try to renovate the whole area completely, I still noticed buildings that looked unattractive. For instance, some buildings that were in the alleyways had bags of trash out in front, things like that. Another thing that I thought could be improved was the seating in the area. All the tables and benches seemed to be concentrated in one area, I think it would be more beneficial if everything was spread out. Another thing that I would enjoy would be more street vendors. I thought things like hot dog stands and such would add to the downtown appeal. I only saw one hot dog stand in the area.
3. "A pawnshop that once lent a vaguely disreputable air to the neighborhood" I thought this quote relates to Downtown Kalamazoo because I noticed a liquor store that seemed like it took away some appeal from the otherwise nice area.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October 29

1. Robert Gibbs evaluates Main Streets by looking at the stores that are on that street. I thought it was interesting how he said that some objects, such as trees and boxes look nice however, they block the store itself. Also, how tables and benches make the area seem inviting however, teenagers will scare people away. I actually did this and I never thought I was frightening people, kind of makes me feel powerful. I also thought it was interesting that the area's surroundings can actually distract people from the stores. It seems ironic because these are the things that are used to attract people to the area. He also talked about the cleanliness of the area. If the area is dirty, then no one will come. Also a main street should never be accessible only through a left turn only, because people will not go through on coming traffic.
2. I do not think that Main Street should be a mall. I think that main street is like a mall however, there are some differences that make the shopping experience much different. I thought it was funny that Gibbs would try to think like a woman when evaluating a shopping area.
3. I would want a main street to seem inviting without distracting anything from the actual stores. I want stores that make the area appealing. For instance, I would not want any pawn shops or liquor stores nearby.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 2007

1. The store that I chose to observe is Best Buy. Best Buy markets to people who want to buy any sort of electronic product. These people's ages most likely range from the young to the middle aged and to those who have enough money to spend on high end electronic equipment and are mainly males.
2a. The store had a large sign that lets customers know where the store is located. The walls of the store are dark blue and they have placed the logo of the store on top of the entrance. On the side of the store, there is an area where people can take there cars and have some after market electronic products installed.
2b. There are different sounds that emanate from different areas of the store. From the audio department, there is the sound of different types of music being played, the t.v. department has noises from different television programs, the car audio department has different types of music and the video game department has different noises from different games.
2c. The merchandise is displayed in a very neat way. There are large signs that show people what items are for sale. Some of the merchandise is out on display so that customers are able to try it out.
2d. The floors of the store vary from carpet to tile. The carpet floors are generally blue and the tile is white.
2e. There are many signs through out the store that hang from the ceiling. These signs are large and tell customers what section of the store they are in.
2f. There are multiple cashier areas throughout the store, the main ones are located at the front. For some odd reason, there are snacks and drinks at these front cashiers along with items that are on sale as well as batteries.
3. I think that this business tries to project an image of an electronic merchandise superstore. There are many different sorts of electronics within the store as well as the size of the store, which is fairly large.
4. Customers go to the area of the store that contains the type of product that they want. Sometimes they may ask an employee if they have any questions about that product.
5. I thought the most interesting part of the store was its simplicity. The store was pretty bare, it was pretty much like a big warehouse.