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Research + Ethnography

Exploring Embedded Values in Amazon's Rating System

This research study explores the unintended consequences of product choice optimization and ease of purchase made possible through Amazon's robust online marketplace. As Amazon begins to move beyond digital channels and into brick and mortar stores, what opportunities might Amazon have to help connect customers to a notion of "better" in their product purchases? The study concludes with a proposal to use omnichannel retail to prototype and measure different ways of championing ethical consumption in Amazon 4 Star stores.



To view the full report click here.

Urban Mobility: Tools, Strategies, and Decision Making

This research study intends to help the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to understand how they can increase ridership and improve their public image with millennial professionals. Secondary and primary user research was conducted to understand how millennial professionals get around the city of Chicago, the challenges they face in doing so, and how they make mobility decisions so that the CTA can identify opportunities to improve public transportation and increase ridership.


The research was conducted in collaboration with Amy Guterman, Yuan Feng, and Cristina Tarriba.



To view the full report click here.

The Future of Pleasure: A Search for Renewal

A few decades ago it was predicted that advances in technology would reduce the need for human labor to such a degree that people would have an excess amount of time for leisure. However, today, it seems that technology has only served to blur the line between work and play. The physical environments that we choose for pleasure have to provide a spectrum of sensory stimulation. There are those that relieve us from boredom, and on the other end, those that relieve us from stress. This report explores the connection between the individual and their desire for, and engagement with, different leisure environments. The Future of Pleasure seeks to synthesize the major social and cultural trends influencing spaces for renewal in order to develop design strategies that can be incorporated into practice.

The research was conducted in collaboration with Guadalupe Aguilera and Valerio Dewalt Train Associates.



To view the full report click here.

CTA Bus User Research 

Public transportation is a core experience for urban dwellers. In Chicago, more than 2.7 million residents live within a half-mile of public transit. While transit is one of the primary benefits of living in the city, it can also be a source of frustration and intimidation, especially for newcomers and first-time riders. Through field observation, user interviews, and human factor analysis I sought to identify key insights about the benefits and challenges of CTA bus ridership in order to suggest possible improvements.

Trip Diagram

Critical Infrastructure and Data Architecture

Critical infrastructure is the backbone of a nation's economy, security, and health. It is the power used in homes, the water people drink, transportation networks, and communication systems people rely on to stay in touch with friends and family. Critical infrastructures are the assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, so vital that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. (US Department of Homeland Security) This research aims to untangle the complicated web of sectors, institutions, and protocols responsible for managing and protecting these critical infrastructures.



Mobility Trends

The landscape of mobility is changing. New technologies disrupt current systems at multiple levels leaving the automobile industry racing to find a new foothold. This brief research study looks at the past, present, and emerging technologies affecting the future of mobility.

Hype Cycle

Values and Expectations in Higher Education

In the Summer of 2019 Borough + Block recognized a value gap among students, instructors, and administrators in higher education and initiated research around the issue. Primary research was conducted in order to provide valuable insight into the values and expectations of both students and instructors and help to uncover opportunities for intervention.

My work consisted of in-person and remote interviews with full-time undergraduate students at traditional four-year colleges. Insights were gathered around what students want and need both from their instructors and from college as a whole. 

This project is ongoing.

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