Visual anthropology – guide

Visual Anthropology” has a Shooting guide for a Photographic Survey of an Urban Neighbourhood  that is a very valuable contextual checklist for design for all.  If we map various locations from a disabled person’s viewpoint – both a specific destination and its context – we are building a very valuable tool for others to decide – hmm I can do that, or maybe not there today!

(Not quoted precisely)


…boundaries, landmarks….geographical features

Appearance  what does it look like generally, range of building types, character of streets, hilly flat, subsections, are streets straight, winding, a mix?  Are buildings short tall, wide, narrow, new, old?  In repair or run down?


Components of the neighbourhood?  How is it arranged?  Where are the businesses, public places, religious institutions, residences.

Make wide shots to define relative location, close ups that show details.


How is the neighbourhood used?  Record range of activities, services and functions.  Businesses, residences, restaurants, schools, recreation facilities. Who do they serve?  Local population, city, region?  Particular ethnic groups, age ranges, subcultures, men, women…Make photos that record the orientation of places towards clientele and the character of who comes, goes, for what, where, when?  Wide shots for relationships and context, closer shots for details and identification.


Who lives here?  Who comes here? Works here? Is the population homogenous, mixed, young, old? Transient?  Record the range of people to be seen and other evidence of the human mix of the area.  Store signs, goods for sale, club names, decor.


How do people get around?  What are the major transport arteries, pedestrian routes?  Are there pedestrians?  Who are they?  Bus lines, crossroads, transfer points, parking lots, congestion?

Residential areas

What do they look like?  Character and condition, range of building styles.  Who are the residents? Clues to life styles?

Daily cycles

What is the cycle of the day in this place?  Who goes, comes, when and where?  Extend to larger cycles of weeks and months and seasons.  When and where are the peaks of activities?


What can be seen that reflects the past?


Where is this place going? What is changing, what is not? New construction?  Store clearances, closing.  Photograph change.

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