Transect Walk

This tool is a walk taken by researchers with stakeholders to produce a shared map with issues and opportunities regarding the spatial environment and the community.

Transects are identified zones, contrasts, changes, conditions and physical features in the urban environment. You can consider transect walks as promenades through the project area by researchers and participants to gain an understanding of the specific surroundings, flows, potentials and challenges. This way situated knowledge can be identified and built.

Format WorkshopTimeframe A half dayGroup Size AllFacilitation Level MediumRequired Materials Base map, Sketchbooks, Markers, Cameras


  • Participants (local stakeholders) decide on a route for the transect walk.
  • Research team divides responsibilities for documenting specific information.
  • While walking researchers discuss what they observe with local stakeholders. Researchers observe, ask questions and listen.
  • Researchers try to discover problems and opportunities related to what they see and hear from the stakeholders, and they write down contrasts and changes.
  • Draw a diagram of the collected information.


This tool can be used to compare reactions and discussions of different types of stakeholders, and it can provide multi-layered information that can be used in different phases of the planning.


1) Plan different transect walks with diverse social groups of stakeholders; 2) Try to choose a route with varied characteristics; 3) The route might be based on a map produced earlier in the desk study phase; 4) Active participation is required for effective use of this tool; 5) Be aware that this tool can be biased. Having your attention directed towards bias the walk can create opportunities for researching power relationships inside the community; 6) Facilitator should to empower community members to lead the walk in stead of herself/himself taking the lead. This way the stakeholders perspective can be seen in the way they address the area itself.
Download Tool Supporting Files Not available