Researchers from the architecture firm Gensler were recently at the dental school. They monitored and recorded the activities taking place at a series of predesignated locations throughout the building, covering a wide range of spaces including clinics, lecture rooms, laboratories, offices and amentities.
The researchers were determining whether or not the spaces were occupied and, if so, what the occupants were generally doing (focused work, patient consultation, studying, formal meetings, etc.). Every half hour, observers walked along pre-designated routes, recording predefined activity codes into a hand-held device according to what was occuring in the location. These codes were then translated into a database for quantitative analysis.
Examples of how this data can be analyzed include average utilization, average daily peak occupancy, weekly peak occupancy and ratios of key behaviors. This data allows the team to understand the extent to which the actual use of spaces corresponds to reported use and to postulate why certain spaces are over-crowded while others sit empty, providing an objective determination of how spaces are used.