Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

A Year in the Life of a Public Park: Route-Making, Vigilance and Sampling Time Whilst Walking

Medford, Wayne

A Year in the Life of a Public Park: Route-Making, Vigilance and Sampling Time Whilst Walking Thumbnail


Wayne Medford


This paper offers a systematic, experimental, walking methodology to facilitate an ethnography of a major urban public park undertaken in the north-east of England in 2009–10. Ethnography puts the body in-place, placing the senses within the streams of life to be observed through experience; walking is one means of so doing. Walking traditions have frequently been used to observe, record and analyse the minutiae of urban life, with recent qualitative methodologies seeking to use walking to underpin ethnographies. Walking must negotiate the specificity of place and time, with all walks taking place in a real-world of materially, spatially, complex, vital and rhythmic landscapes. My aim was to systematically capture some of these patterns. Ethnographies typically use sustained field-based immersion; yet, some research utilises sampling strategies to guide observational procedures. Combining these methodologies allowed me to develop a methodology with three objectives: to create a series of routes to be followed; routes which allowed me to both scan and closely observe distant, and proximate, surroundings; and to construct a diurnal, weekly “sampling” frame, which allowed me to “immerse” myself within the park’s life through repeatedly walking these routes, building up a picture of everyday life, whilst (hopefully) capturing unscheduled events.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 18, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 21, 2018
Publication Date Feb 21, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 1, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 2, 2019
Journal Humanities
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Article Number 18
Public URL


Published Journal Article (4.3 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Downloadable Citations