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No matter what day of the week, or time of day, there are millions of people patronizing cafés throughout this country. Since the day the first Starbucks opened, Americans have never looked back. The prolifera- tion of cheap and free wi-fi has made these caffeine dispensing establishments even more alluring, and now it seems its impossible to travel even one block without seeing over a dozen cafés. These houses of java have become part of the modern urban and suburban landscape in a uniquely American way. That is to say that although we drink the same espresso as those in countries such as france or Italy, we have not developed cafe culture - at least in the traditional european sense. Cafés serve a different purpose and have a different attitude here then they do in other nations.
The question then becomes: What role do cafés currently play in urban America, and how could these locations be better designed to facilitate and support the needs of the customers in those shops. How can proprietors improve their café spaces, and better differentiate themselves from the competition in a way that Bars currently do. For instance there are many genres of bars that by design, focus on specific kinds of clientele and support activities that are sometimes mutually exclusive. For instance dive bars provide
a very different experience than a sports bar or a blues bar. The evolution of genres and sub-genres of bars allows people to make informed decisions of what kind of place to attend in order to more accurately fulfill their specific needs. The same cannot be said for cafés. Though people relax, socialize, and work in cafés, there doesn’t seem to be places that are focused on any area of activity in particular. It is my goal by the end of this project to discover the ways in which people utilize the spaces within cafés and use this information to develop recommended areas that would provide innovative design opportunities to enhance café environments.