1.1 Citizens' concerns

Explore the social and physical interaction of an area through a CITY SAFARI

People involved:

Project team


Between 1 hour to a whole day

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?

City Safari

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.

In this exercise, documentation is a key aspect.

Discover the tool in action!

City safari in an odour-affected area in Barcelona


D-NOSES Barcelona pilot


Fundación Ibercivis, Ideas for Change


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 understand the area affected.

To gather qualitative insights on citizens’ environmental concerns around odours.

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.

Also, we talked with local citizens

We casually chatted with people in the local association and the local shops. This helped us to have a better understanding and gain insight on 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. 

Get the toolbox!

We share with you some of the tools that can be useful to carry out this activity.

Example of map with results

Example of presentation with results