Stanford ‘Pop-Up’ Pavilion Project: Community-Driven Change through Citizen Science

Stanford University, CA – February 2023

Project Goal

Support Stanford community members in documenting their experiences, perspectives, and ideas about the “pop-up” pavilion.

Guiding Question

  • What affects your experience of the pavilion area?
  • What makes it easy or hard to engage with the pavilion area and features?

Project Description

The “pop up” pavilion serves as a pilot to realize the Town Center's vision and learn lessons that will inform the development of Stanford’s civic spaces. The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) partnered with the Stanford Our Voice Citizen Science Initiative to assess current community experiences with and perspectives on the pavilion from Stanford students, faculty, alumni, and other community members. The 3-week project elicited a rich array of community insights as well as a wide range of actionable steps to further develop and refine the pavilion and civic spaces across campus.


Over a total of 47 Discovery Tool Walks, Stanford community members collected 169 photos and 153 Narratives about the pavilion.

These records were catagorized into 4 themes:

  • Connecting with Campus Spaces and Places (78  photos)
  • Connecting with Other People (59 photos)
  • Connecting with Ideas (29 photos)
  • Connecting with Engaging Experiences (28 photos)

 After data collection, the citizen scientists’ collective findings were shared in a public Data Museum. 20 community members reviewed the data and used Post-it notes to share ideas for change.

Strengths Identified

  • Overhang that creates shading
  • Whiteboard for collaboration
  • The couches make it comfortable

Identified Areas for Improvement

  • Improve outside seating to withstand weather 
  • Add greenery, lighting, heat lamps, and more to be more inviting
  • Provide electrical outlets in more accessible spaces

Activities and Outcomes

  • Festoon lights, controlled by an outdoor light switch, were installed at the pavilion.
  • Two electrical charging pedestals with outlets were installed during the summer of 2023.
  • A student workgroup is coordinating plans for engagement features and activities throughout the academic year to build upon strengths and meet areas of improvement.

Associated Publications:

Our Voice Impact

"This experience has changed my life.  I see inadequacies everywhere I go as it relates to pedestrian access and safety.  I even stop [at] construction sites to remind them to be considerate of the handicapped in our community.  Thank you all so much for this awareness and empowerment to require change."

~ Pam Jiner, GirlTrek Advocacy Leader, Denver CO