About the Survey of Urban Habits

The Habitorium invites you to complete The Survey of Urban Habits, which aims to collect information about individual habits expressed in different urban environments. Habits have different rhythms and capacities in urban settings and are particular from one city to another.

You can skip this explanation of the survey and go directly to the electronic version but please don’t! The Habitorium prefers to receive a hard copy of your response by mail. DOWNLOAD the survey, print it out and drop it in the USPS.

The Survey of Urban Habits is an opportunity to spend time thinking about patterns of behavior, attitudes, and how we occupy space.The Survey of Urban Habits was developed in collaboration with Blagovesta Momchedjikova and Jorge de La Barre, for Volume 31 of StreetNotes on the subject. A final report on the results of The Survey of Urban Habits will be included in the publication, an ethnographic journal from U.C. Davis.

For the purpose of this survey… 

  • Urban Habits may be conducted in public or private environments. An Urban Habit can also be one that moves you between private and public space. Going grocery shopping might require this fluidity in an urban setting.  
  • Urban Habits are constrained according to the city where they occur due to spatial, climatic and other particularities.Where some urban environments  might have bridge and tunnel habits, landlocked cities would not. 
  • Urban Habits can be stacked. For instance, you may always walk on the same side of the street as you approach the same park where you always sit on the same bench, to drink the same hot beverage. Each of these activities are habits, and each habit is laden with other habits.
  • Urban Habits can be hard and fast, or slow and variable. In other words, the habit can be performed the same way every time you express it, or there might be lots of room for a habit to weave through environmental or temporal shifts and surprises. if you stop at a cafe for a beverage every week, do you order the same coffee, sit in the same chair, tip the same amount? A habit with fewer variations is a more rigid habit.

Describing your Urban Habit: Be Granular – Account for the most minute details of your habits. Don’t worry that your descriptions are too gaudy: you cannot possibly provide too much information about your Urban Habit. You might, for example, describe your commute with details of train or bus boarding, comportment, disembarking. If you commute by car – what do you listen to while you drive, do you eat in the car, take the same route, share the ride?

Consider taking some time in response to this survey. Try tracking your Urban Habit to provide statistical information about your behavior in the survey. Count the number of taxi, subway, bus rides you take in one month. Append documentation entailing the evidence you gather, make a list, or describe it narratively. Whatever you do, be as specific as you can with your response.

Urban Habit: Duration and Frequency – Conventional wisdom holds that 21 repetitions is necessary for a behavior to become a habit. Once you’ve identified an Urban Habit for the survey, consider the duration of time you’ve maintained this habit. Is it a current habit? If it is a habit that happened in the past, how long did you practice it? If you practiced this habit in more than one city, please consider completing a survey for each expression of the habit. They are bound to be different. Such reports offer great geographic specificity that will enrich the results, analysis, and reporting.

Also consider how frequently you engage the Urban Habit: do you do it daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, annually? It may be that the habit happens differently at different times of the year, depending on the weather. Notice and record these differences. Habitually jogging for exercise might happen indoors or with different gear during the winter months in Chicago.

Responding: Protocol and Results – There are two ways to complete The Survey of Urban Habits. Prepare your response on paper by downloading a PDF at the link below, or you can complete the survey electronically. Either way, provide your contact information so The Habitorium can share the survey results with you. Reply to The Survey of Urban Habits as many times as you like, examining a new habit with each response. Results received before May 1, 2023 will be included in the Report on Urban Habits.

The Habitorium has a strong preference for results received by USPS mail, sending postal mail  supports different economies than an electronic exchange of data. Thank you for making the effort to honor this preference.

Buy a stamp. Drop handwritten surveys in the mail to:
The Habitorium 
PO BOX 10041   
Phoenix AZ 85064

The Habitorium was established in 2013, but Jo Novelli-Blasko has been creating  surveys since 1998. Her first set of questions aimed to learn about lunch time Take Out Habits of her fellow DeskTop Publishers at Merrill Lynch. An ethnographic project at its heart, The Habitorium maintains a modest archive of survey responses, found photographs and films, and a small library of manuals and texts related to building, understanding, documenting and analyzing habits. The Habitorium accepts commissions for surveys and other expressions of habit, attitude, and intention. Visit TheHabitorium.com to learn more.