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Thread: How should I present my study findings?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Aug 2006
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    How should I present my study findings?

    Part of my summer internship was to conduct a commercial activity study for the merchant organization I was working with. I did a walking survey of business types on the ground floor and a similar survey of upper-floor businesses.

    I now need to write up a report based on my findings for the group's website, but I'm unsure how to approach it. I am not experienced in economic development work (nor are my employers, really) so I don't know the protocol. I understand that I need to be transparent with my treatment of the data, but beyond that, does anyone have any advice? Referals to similar studies would be very helpful.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The kind of survey you are talking about is one of the standard things I do when working on a retail strategy or downtown plan. I have taken different approaches to presenting the data, including generalized use maps, and maps with more specific data on the business type. A much more limited approach is to simply list the business types in a table. You lose the geographic element of the data you have collected, but you can also use this to compare to Retail Census business counts and get some idea of the concentration of businesses downtown versus elsewhere in the community - just remember that the census is not a 100% count. If you really like sorting through statistics, you can even back out average store sales and sales per square foot estimates. Great work for an intern.

    How are you using the data? Displayed in a spatial format, I find it very helpful in identifying business clusters and devising leasing strategies for commercial districts. It is often easy to pick out groupings of retail, offices, restaurants, etc. From that you can then start to identify the best locations for attracting new retail, placing the city library, proposing a site for the new convention center, or whatever.

    Send me a PM with your address and I can send you some samples of how I have used this data.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks, Cardinal, I will get in touch with you for some specific examples.

    I collected data from a very small gentrifying mixed-use area, formerly occupied by meatpackers. There are still some meatpackers in the area, but there are a lot more nightclubs, high-end boutiques, and restaurants. The area also received an NYC landmark district designation a few years ago.

    The ground-floor findings are no shocker--lots of hospitality, fewer industrial businesses. The fun part was getting in to the interiors of the buildings and finding out who was working on the upper floors. It turns out that there is a high concentration of small creative businesses, almost right out of Florida's creative economy.

    Although it sucks for the meatpackers, this neighborhood is doing the transition from industrial to service/creative economy in a seamless, in fact overlapping fashion. No abandoned buildings, no blight. [though some will say the gore of the meatpackers is blight, and some will say the status-conscious club crowd is blight].

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    What you did is a typical simple research of an existing built-up area which are usually done when you need to re-plan the area or change its business orientation. Here are some suggestions on the outline for you to consider:

    I. Rationale: Define the reason of your study.
    II. Objectives: Identify your objectives why you are doing this.
    III. Data analysis: Present the data you gathered. Tabulate them (in Excel form) according to Activity or general use of the space, the space they occupied, so on and so forth. You can support your data with charts, graphs, or any means of presentation. You can also present in Powerpoint format.
    IV. Evaluation and Recommendations: State your proposals and new concept based on the data analysis.
    V. Justifications. Justify your concept. Deliberate with existing policies, guidelines, principles, etc.
    VI. Conclusion. Conclude to augment your recommendation.
    V. Timetable. Attach a work schedule if any for the proposed reconfiguration.
    VI. Appendix. You can include digital images here, annexes of sample lease-contracts, forms, etc.

    Make your report as brief as you can but very concise and factual.

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