Video tool

Type of tool: Research

Phase: Identification


How to explore the social and physical interaction of an area

People involved:

Project team


1h-whole day


Fundación Ibercivis, Ideas for Change

The Challenge

Every citizen science project requires an in-depth understanding of the context where the actions are planned to take place. However, capturing the complexity of social contexts is often challenging due to time constraints.

How can we gain quick contextual learning of the site where we are planning to intervene?


The Tool

A city safari is a quick and dirty ethnographic method useful to gain knowledge on the area and the habits of people that populate it. As part of this method, the researcher spends time on the target site and walks through the area experiencing the issue, identifying the hot spots where people gather, how people express themselves through the urban space, the main routes people take, and the important institutions that can be relevant for the project.

Download the toolbox

We share with you some resources that can be useful to carry out this activity.

Example of a presentation with results

Discover the tool in action!

Read the case study and understand how this tool has been used in a real citizen science project.

City safari in an odour-affected area in Barcelona

D-NOSES Barcelona pilot


The city safari aimed to explore the Forum Area (the location of the D-NOSES pilot in Barcelona) in a real daily life experience and gain insight into the local neighbourhood associations, schools, shops, parks, and other facilities. Also, to understand where people move around and which are the rush hours. For that reason, we spend two full days exploring the different areas, taking pictures and identifying citizen associations, libraries, radios, etc.


To gain a first-hand experience of the area affected by the problem at stake.
To gather qualitative insights on citizens’ environmental concerns around odors.
To start a collaboration with local groups who might want to be part of the pilot.

Just walk around and observe. We defined the area we had to explore, and we split it into sections. Within those sections, we instinctively walked around without defining an exact route.
Talk with local neighbors. We casually chatted with people in the local association and the local shops. This helped us to have a better understanding and gain insight into the area.
Document the city safari. We took photographs of relevant locations of the Forum Area where people gather (schools, civic centres, museums, libraries) and we noted this information down.
Create a map with the results. We migrated the spotted locations onto a digital map. A presentation with the results of the city safari was created augmented by an analysis of the key physical spaces and places relevant for the D-NOSES project in the Forum area