Response to Jenny and Rachel

Your presentation was clear and your topic was well defined. I’m not to sure as to what advice to give you since you have a strong foundation for your research project. Make sure that your research question is well focused and can be accomplished during our stay in Amsterdam. Your topic, “the direction of the relationship between transportation systems in Amsterdam and the city’s inhabitants” can be narrowed down to a more plausible research topic. Maybe indicate what exactly you are looking for and what is being analyzed.

Refined Research Question

After the midterm presentations a few weeks ago and after listening to the feedback that we received, I realized that there were many problems with our research question. The major setback in our question was that it tried to incorporate three different topics into one, which made it very broad and difficult to accomplish. As a group, we decided to change our research question by focusing the question into one subject matter. We decided to aim our attention at the bicycle mode of transportation in Amsterdam and how it affects public health.

How does the bicycling culture in Amsterdam affect the public health of the individual and the population as a whole?

Assignment 3: Field Research and The Research Question


My partners are Ben Johnson and Nathaniel Cook.

The three of us had very different ideas for our projects. I was interested in doing a project that was related to the healthcare in Amsterdam, Ben wanted to do a project about how bicycles impacted society, and Nathaniel wanted to explore the religious aspect in Amsterdam. We united our ideas with a common bridge that was public health. Ben will focus on how the popular bicycle transportation affects the public health while Nathaniel will look into how religion affects public health. I have narrowed my focus down to observing how the relative high tolerance of drugs affects public health or possibly the opportunities presented to the youth of Amsterdam and how their attitudes and decisions towards drugs, alcohol, or other activities affect the health of those individuals. This may also include the opportunities to participate in sports, going to school, or other programs which may have a positive affect on the youth. Measuring and assessing public health is going to be difficult and I am still brainstorming ideas on how this can be achieved.

Since our project is centered on health, we decided to visit the University of Washington medical center. Initially we weren’t sure at what we were suppose to look at or search for. I first noticed the directory on the wall and all the different places that we could go. I then considered how could exploring a hospital relate to our research topic. I want to focus on how drug tolerance and youth behavior towards that and other things like sports affect their health. I realized then that I need to be visiting the pediatric center or a clinic and possibly interview pediatricians and learn about their views on youth health. I should also be visiting individual families or go to parks and talk to teenagers and children to ask them about what they do in their free time and the opportunities they have to participate in activities. I can apply this to Amsterdam and have a better idea of what to search for.

Looking for a partner

I am interested in learning about health care in Amsterdam and how it is different than the United States and other parts of the world. It is a very broad topic and I am currently trying to narrow the focus down to something that is more feasible. If your project interest are somewhat similar to mine and are looking for a partner, let me know. I am open to all topics. My email is

Colin Ip

Assignment 2: A Walk Around the Blogosphere

There’s always something to do in Amsterdam by Dhull Link to Blog

I had trouble finding a blog that incorporated a sense of space as the writer described his or her thoughts and feelings while traveling from one place to another. I used Googleblogs to search for an appropriate article. I used key words such as “urban space” combined with “Amsterdam” to no avail. Then I decided to use words such as “first impression” which had better results.

While reading the blog, I tried to place myself in the writer’s shoes and imagine what he was seeing. I first pictured myself traveling from Munich to Amsterdam while comparing the two different cities. Amsterdam is very crowded and full of life. There are many different types of transportation in the bustling city ranging from trams and cars to bikes and canals. Munich was more peaceful and clean. The only rowdiness that I encountered was at the soccer game.

The blog is chronologically ordered which makes it easier to follow Dhull’s experience in the two cities. He describes in detail the places that he visits and his impressions of them. For example, as he walked through the old German concentration camp, he depicts the depressing aura and the chills that run down his spine. He also gives his thoughts openly when he describes the indifference that people show towards precariously leaning buildings in Amsterdam and connects it to the Dutch’s tolerant perspective.

Dhull describes the English Garden’s in Munich as a big park in the city with activities ranging from surfing in the river to nude sun bathing. As I read his narrative, it gave me a sense that the park was very large considering that a river runs through it, narrows at a point to create a standing wave, and have enough space for people to come and gather and watch surfers do their thing. This large sense of space seems to allow a stronger sense of privacy for things like sun bathing but at the same time allow people to come together to watch surfing. This can be juxtaposed to his first impression of Amsterdam which was craziness and chaos in the bustlings streets full of cars and bikes. The lack of space initially made Dhull feel uncomfortable until he settled and tried to gather a sense of order while smack in the middle of Amsterdam traffic.

The role of PLAY in my exploration through the blogosphere is the idea that these bloggers are writing about their adventures for fun sometimes not knowing that their blogs have meaning to their readers. The process of reading and understanding their thoughts is essential for my own growth and development as an observer and a thinker. Their experiences are ‘at play’ and from their stories I can learn about social interactions between people, the affects of space on society, and many other things.

Assignment 0: Close Looking: Interrogating Visual Material

Image 1

Image 2

When I was surfing through the list of images, these two pictures caught my attention. In my opinion, they both share similar characteristics that makes them unique from all the other images. The first image involves people mingling in the foreground and a container ship in the background. When I looked at this image, I focused on the ship in the background with its densely packed, multicolored cargo and the body of water surrounding it. It reminded me of an image that I saw earlier which turned out to be image 2. Image 2 is a picture of numerous waterfront homes packed tightly together that seem to be floating on the water. The waterfront homes and the container ship with all its cargo are visually similar because of its density and complexity that results from the colorful containers uniformly packed together and the homes squashed together in a similar format. In other words, the homes can be compared to the containers on the cargo ship because of their colors, density, and the fact that they both are floating on water.

This specific detail may reveal something about Amsterdam. Just by extrapolating from these two pictures, I can come to a conclusion that buildings are densely packed like cargo on a container ship and many parts of the city may be near the shoreline or floating on the water. But along with this dense architecture are multitudes of color that brighten the city like the different colors on that cargo ship and on the buildings.

After looking at these two images, I feel that they are not a full representation of all of Amsterdam and only hold a small amount of information about the city itself. I would like to look at more images of Amsterdam to see whether there are many houses on the waterfront that are tightly packed like those found in the images and to learn how important the proximity of water is to the city.