The role of place auditing in city shaping
By 2050 most people will live in urban settlements. It is critical that we understand how to design and deliver a public realm that can support our communities to thrive, creating a sustainable, safe and prosperous urban future. By conducting regular monitoring and evaluation of our shared spaces we can ensure their success and ongoing relevance.
How do you audit a space?
Place auditors observe and document how people use and interact with the space via intercept surveys, where they engage directly with people as they move through the space to capture perceptions and experiences of place. Data is input directly into the Inhabit Place online platform and is timestamped to enable trend analysis
Place audits are held across two days, a weekday and a weekend day, in order to understand trends across the week.
Set metrics are completed in a rolling fashion across the day to ensure a standardised and consistent product.
Can we do it ourselves?
Yes you can. Inhabit Place prices include training modules for those groups who would like to run the audit themselves.
Inhabit Place also has teams of trained staff who can conduct the audit on your behalf if you do not have the capacity in house.
An Inhabit Place audit manager will be available on audit days to oversee the data entry and provide on site support.
How many auditors do you need?
The number of auditors can vary from a minimum of 2 to 6+, depending on the size and complexity of the site. Generally a site with clear site sight lines enables fewer auditors. When providing a detailed quote Inhabit Place will recommend a minimum number of audits to sufficiently cover the nominated area.
What type of space is best suited to a place audit?
Place audits help to demonstrate the use of shared spaces. The Inhabit Place tool can be used across public or private settings, indoors and outdoors. Place auditing helps to understand how people navigate in key social spaces such as a plaza, park, terminal, foyer or key street.
What does an audit report tell me?
Inhabit Place audits produce a standardised report that enables an apples for apples comparison over time. This comparison might be to observe a single space as it evolves or to help determine similarities and differences across various locations.
We recognise that each place is unique and believe that places should be assessed in relation to the specific needs of the community. Every project has its own measures of success that are determined by the client and community. Inhabit Place provides the data to help demonstrate against those internal metrics of success, allowing stakeholders to make informed decisions.
How to I pick which audit is the most appropriate?
We recommend auditing a space Before, During and After any major intervention, whether that be activation or capital works.
Before: The first time a space is audited you should complete a Baseline Place Audit. This includes mapping the physical infrastructure of the space.
During & After: After the completion of a Baseline Place Audit a Follow Up Place Audit can be conducted at any interval. A Follow Up Place Audit focuses on the human experiences. If a place has been physically altered we recommend renewing a Baseline Place Audit to capture the new infrastructure to demonstrate how users of the space have adapted their interactions.
What data do you collect?
Inhabit Place collects the following 8 metrics in an ongoing fashion across the day to demonstrate trends of use against each category.
- Movement- Captures demographics of age and gender, and mode of movement of those people passing through the space.
- Patterns of Movement- Spatial capture of where people move through the space, documenting desire lines and obstacles.
- Time in Place- Spatially mapping the demographics, activities and duration of those spending time in place.
- Interviews- Intercept surveys with users of the space to capture their perceptions of place and safety, and opportunity to provide suggestions for improvement.
- Time Lapse Images- Time lapse photography shows how the space changes across the day, to document shadow, activity and audience.
- Photography- General site imagery to capture the mood and feel of a space.
- Observation- Auditor notes to corroborate events and provide nuance and context to the data.
- Frontages- Assessing activation of the built edge.
- Inventory- Documentation of all public infrastructure on site, inclusive of condition claim, to allow spatial mapping of people’s interaction with specific items.
Does it provide a ranking?
No. We recognise that each place is unique and believe that places should be assessed in relation to the specific needs of the community. Every project has its own measures of success that are determined by the client and community. Inhabit Place provides the data to help demonstrate against those internal metrics of success, allowing stakeholders to make informed decisions.
Does it use big data?
No. Inhabit Place data is obtained through place observation and direct engagement.
Who can use it?
Inhabit Place has been developed for use by all practitioners involved in the delivery and development of shared spaces, such as town planners, architects, placemakers and urban designers as well as place owners including local, state and federal governments, developers, private businesses, or place managers.
How much does it cost?
A Place Audit is typically one weekday and one weekend day to demonstrate how a space changes across the week. Each product is itemised to ensure the audit can be tailored to the expectations of the client, including utilising Inhabit Place audit staff or internal team members.
Baseline Place Audit (Weekday and Weekend Day) - $5,500 (excluding gst)
A Baseline Audit sets the benchmark for future comparison, capturing the existing conditions of a site. Includes an assessment of physical infrastructure, user demographics, patterns of usage and key behaviours.
Follow up Place Audit (Weekday & Weekend Day) - $5,000 (excluding gst)
A Follow Up Place Audit allows regular monitoring and evaluation to ascertain the operation and ongoing function of a space. Includes user demographics and key behaviours.
Auditor Organisation - $1,000
An organisation fee is applied once per audit where Inhabit Place is responsible for providing staff and arranging rosters.
Staff trained in using the Inhabit Place Application to collect data and conduct surveys are paid a casual rate of $25/hr. The number of auditors is dependent on site conditions.
Comparison Report - $1,800
A Comparison Report shows changes in metrics across audits, presenting the difference and fluctuation of each data set. A comparison can be made between two or more reports of the same site and is accompanied by key insights into those data changes.
Recommendations Report - $6,000
Built environment professionals analyse audit reports to provide detailed suggestions on how the space could be changed to respond to insights brought to light throughout the auditing process.
Subscription Model – price available on request
A package of audits for use over a regular time period offered at a discounted rate.
White Label – available on request
A proprietary product where the proponent has ownership and branding of the outputs supported by Inhabit Place system support.
Select Components of Audit – prices available on request
Single day audit
Multiple audits across multiple places case by case basis – percentage decrease, subscription models on request.
What does a Place Audit include?
A Place Audit consists of the following:
- A week day and a weekend day data capture;
- Access to training portal for fortnight prior to audit day;
- Audit manager for audit days to coordinate auditors and trouble shoot any issues on site;
- Access to Inhabit Place application for audit days;
- Raw data.
What if I have more questions?
We’d love to talk more, you can contact us via the contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 02 6253 0222