Category Archives: Module 2

Announcement for Module 2

Team Presentations on Tuesday 9/19/2017

students on bicycles riding in bike lane on John F. Kennedy Drive
Sunny bike ride in Golden Gate Park.

On Tuesday, we heard some great team presentations of evidence about the Panhandle area. Links to videos and slides below.


  1. Teams are finding great stuff — very interesting and often very thorough observations.
  2. Generally good work explaining your goals and methods.
  3. Great use of a variety of kinds of evidence (numbers, photos…)
  4. Very nice job generally with transitions, Carl Kwan style!
  5. Slides were generally very good — we’ll talk more in the future about slide design best practices and pitfalls.

Weaknesses (biggest weak points had to do with delivery, not with content):

  1. As I mentioned, conclusions were generally weak. Refer to this Canvas page for important advice about conclusions.
  2. Confidence: you discovered something interesting — now stand up there and own it!

TEAM 1: Users of the Shared Path    VIDEO    SLIDES

TEAM 2: Bike Helmets   VIDEO    SLIDES

TEAM 3: Pedestrian Path Users   VIDEO    SLIDES

TEAM 4: Roadway Users    VIDEO     SLIDES

TEAM 5: Speeds on the Shared Path    VIDEO    SLIDES

Class slides from 9/19 (look here for homework for 9/26).

Panhandle Debates

slide showing photos of the path and users, indicating unauthorized use and poor pavement conditions
Slide presenting evidence about the pedestrian path in San Francisco’s Panhandle.

We’ve been studying the Panhandle, and it turns out other people have been studying it too.

Over the past 100 years, the Panhandle has changed from a parkway for automobiles to a car-free extension of Golden Gate Park. The streets bordering the Panhandle, Fell and Oak, have changed from quiet neighborhood streets to wide, high-speed expressways.

Now there are plans for further changes–but what should those changes be? Like our class, different groups have been trying to collect information that will help us make the best decisions.

Read this post on Streetsblog San Francisco about the controversies that have arisen. Post a comment here — thinking particularly about evidence, how would you address this problem?


Tandem Scofflaw Dad on the Panhandle

We watched this video in class on 2/28. The video demonstrates a few issues we’ll talk about over the next few weeks:

What are the challenges involved in a re-design of the shared-used path in the Panhandle (the video shows some of the different users and differences in speed)?To what degree do/should cyclists

To what degree do/should cyclists strictly obey traffic regulations (the video depicts a cyclist with a child running a red light)?

How has new cycling-specific infrastructure changed San Francisco’s streets (the video depicts construction of a separated bike lane on Oak St. and a bicycle traffic signal at Oak and Broderick)?

We can talk more effectively about these challenges if we collect evidence– through interviews, surveys, observation, counting, and measuring.

Using Evidence

For the next few weeks, we’ll focus on evidence.

Presenting the right evidence for your audience and purpose, and presenting evidence in the right way, is essentially for your credibility.

Additionally, we want people to base important decisions on evidence. When a doctor treats me, I want the treatment to be based on evidence (as opposed to tradition, belief, opinion, or superstition). When a new bridge is built, I want the engineers to make decisions based on evidence rather than gut feelings.

As we’ve discussed in class, there are heated debates about the use of bike helmets. In many US states, helmets are required for children, but no US states require them for adults. The primary purpose of bike helmets is to reduce fatal injuries, and there is good evidence that they reduce fatal injuries. However, new knowledge about traumatic brain injuries such as concussion has raised concerns about helmets and non-fatal head injury.

Watch three videos and write a post about the use of evidence in arguments about bike helmets. The first video is about effective communication of technical or scientific ideas. The next two are arguments about bicycle helmets (pro and con).

Don’t hesitate to google these speakers to find out a bit more about them.

Melissa Marshall, “Talk Nerdy to Me.” Marshall is a scientific communications consultant and faculty member at Penn State.

Mikael Colville-Andersen, “Why We Shouldn’t Bike with a Helmet. Colville-Andersen is a designer and urban planning consultant.

Fred Rivara, “The Importance of Bike Helmets.” Rivara is a physician and professor of pediatrics in Seattle.



For further thinking (optional), watch this video about a new kind of helmet, which is essentially an airbag for your head:

Here’s the site of the Swedish company developing the airbag helmet:

Finally (and again optional), consider this opinion piece by Eben Weiss, US author and cycling advocate, who argues against mandatory helmet laws in the US:


To Do for Class Day 12 (Thurs 9/29/16)

You have three main tasks to complete for Thursday: read, write, prepare.

Warning: these will take longer than just a few minutes, so plan ahead & don’t do everything at the last minute.


Read a selection on “Using Field Research” from Envision: Writing and Researching Arguments (Alfano and O’Brien, 2014).


Post to your blog a Write-Out for your 2-minute talk (see below).


Prepare: 2-minute topic proposal for S2, using the two points below as a guide:

  1. “I’d like to find out more about…”
    describe area or topic of interest
  2. “My plan for gathering information is…”
    describe research methods

Use 1 or 2 slides, as appropriate.


Class Report for Day 11 (Tues 9/27/16)

Today we worked on group presentations to demonstrate knowledge of course materials and share new knowledge with others.

Teams of three were assembled on the spot to discuss field observations in relation to two assigned readings, Chris Carlsson’s “I’m in a Hurry, so Slow Down!” (blog post/essay), and John Zimmer’s “The Third Transportation Revolution” (blog post/essay).

Sample slides from presentations:



A “Sustainability Hackathon” will be held at USF on October 8th. Information sessions tomorrow, Wednesday 9/28.

More info below (from Hana Mori Böttger);

What is a hackathon?
You are presented with a problem, and you work in a team to find a solution.
What’s the problem/theme?
Propose a solution that will help promote good habits of environmental sustainability here on our campus.
What kind of solution?
The format of your solution is up to your team. Maybe it’s a physical thing that is placed around campus with info or actions for people to take. Maybe it’s a smartphone app that everyone can use to access info about resources available to them. Maybe it’s an educational campaign that can be launched on campus. No limit to the form your solution can take!
How is it judged?
Your team’s proposal will be judged on feasibility, impact, and innovation. There will be a panel of judges including experts in the fields of sustainability, design and social impact.
Who’s on a team?
Teams will be mixed majors, mixed by area of study: arts/humanities, business/social science, and sciences.
How do I start?
Come to the orientation/kick-off meeting for more info and to form teams. Bring potential teammates with you, or meet someone new and form a team that night.
ORIENTATION MEETING is Wednesday, 28 September 2016, 7:00-8:30pm in McLaren 251.
Is there food?
Is there ever. Pizza at the orientation/kick off, and food all day at the main event/competition day, Saturday 8 October.
Are there prizes?
Yes! Each member of a winning team will go home with a prize, plus there is a strong possibility of your concept being developed and implemented on campus.
Come help make a lasting difference at your beloved school.
Any questions? Email Hana at

To Do for Class Day 11 (Tuesday 9/27/16)

You have three main tasks to complete before Tuesday: explore, read, write.

Warning: these will take longer than just a few minutes, so plan ahead & don’t do everything at the last minute.


Your task is a “space observation.” Walk, bike, or otherwise transport yourself to an outdoor location off-campus and carefully observe the space.

Here are some questions to get you started. You don’t need to answer each of these — they are suggestions to get you thinking:

  • What takes up space (objects, sound, contour)? Both moving and stationary objects take up space; also, sound can take up space. 
  • How is space shaped?
  • How are subspaces marked? Example: in the Panhandle, the shared path is paved, which marks it off from the grassy part. Also, the path itself is divided into two lanes by a painted stripe.
  • How do people (and other creatures) use space(s)?
  • What speeds happen in space?
  • What are you not seeing? What’s missing?

Places you could go (again, just suggestions… I invite you to explore on your own):

  • John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park — a big section of JFK is closed to auto traffic on Sundays, could be an interesting thing to see (and participate in)
  • Geary St. is one of San Francisco’s busiest corridors — early plans for the BART system imagined a line under Geary St, that would tunnel under the Golden Gate and connect to Marin
  • Fell St. or Oak St. east of Baker —  between Baker and Scott on Fell and Oak are some of SFs flagship separated bike lanes
  • the world-famous San Francisco “Wiggle” (Wikipedia page) (on Yelp)– the seven or eight blocks of the Wiggle are a great place to observe pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists obeying and not obeying traffic laws
  • Turk Street — on a clear day, you can stand in the middle of Turk St. at its crest and see the Farallon Islands to the west, 27 miles offshore, and Mt. Diablo, more than 30 miles to the east. But don’t stand there too long, because Turk St. traffic moves pretty quickly.
map showing Farallon islands to the west and Mt. Diablo to the east
From the Farallons to Mt. Diablo


Chris Carlsson, “I’m in a Hurry, so Slow Down!” (blog post/essay)

John Zimmer, “The Third Transportation Revolution” (blog post/essay)


Write a blog post discussing the arguments of Zimmer & Carlsson. Zimmer, as I mentioned in class, is a co-founder of Lyft. Carlsson is a San Francisco writer, activist, and co-founder of Critical Mass.

Your post should show that you are thinking about what ideas and positions these two authors share, and also where they differ.  You can also evaluate their points.

Your post should also include information about your spatial observation expedition.

If it makes sense to connect your observation to bicycles, please do.

Include a relevant image (photo, graph, chart…).

Due before class Tuesday September 27th.