Exploring Community Views on Public Restrooms

Our team is collecting opinions about public restrooms in San Diego County from local community members, in order to inform local advocacy and policy-making efforts.

Our Role


  • Collect community views on public restrooms throughout San Diego County
  • Identify a focal question to capture concerns surrounding the current state of public bathrooms within San Diego
  • Collaborate with our partners at Think Dignity to develop and finalize a presentable question
  • Invite the San Diego community to participate and share their thoughts and opinions on the focal question

Focal Questions

  • What is one reason for or against having more and better public restrooms in San Diego?

  • How would increasing access to public restrooms affect people in San Diego?

Current Activities

For Phase I, we will recruit participants at various high-traffic areas within San Diego to collect a multitude of diverse responses, using our iPad-based survey

For Phase II, we will compile a list of the most unique responses from Phase I, which participants will then have to sort and rate based on a set of prompts.

We will then conduct a hierarchical cluster analysis to create a series of analytic maps and other visualizations.

What Will This Process Look Like?


The quality and quantity of public bathrooms aren’t popular dinner conversation topics. Nevertheless, it is an important conversation to have. The state of public restrooms plays a major role in the spread of infectious diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis A, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), and more.

By documenting local opinions on the matter, we hope to open up the discussion.


Our research focuses on one central question: “What is one reason for or against having more and better public restrooms in San Diego?”

In Phase I, participants will anonymously provide as many reasons as they’d like. In Phase II, responses will be grouped by similar concepts or ideas, and participants will then rate these grouped responses according to personal importance — our strategy to capture community views on the subject.


With approval from our University research ethics board, we will begin recruiting participants in September 2022. In an effort to accurately reflect local views, we aim to reach as many residents and collect as many responses as possible from neighborhoods and communities across San Diego County.

Please check back here for updates on when and where you can find us in your community!


If you’re willing to make your voice heard, we would love to hear from you! We offer opportunities to participate in-person and virtually. For more information or to participate, please contact us at bathrooms.sdsu@gmail.com.

Frequently Asked Questions


The goal of this research project is to collect community members’ thoughts about public restrooms in San Diego. This information will be used to inform local efforts regarding public restrooms in San Diego.


 If you choose to participate, we believe that the risks to you are no greater than those that happen in everyday life. However, there is the risk of a loss of privacy if others in your community find out you participated in this research (for example, if they see you talking to us). You may decline to participate at any time for whatever reason.


Your participation will be confidential. Your name or any other personal information will not be attached to the data. If you are participating online, your IP address or other information will not be collected. All data will be stored on Dr. Felner’s password-protected computer or in an invitation-only, 2-factor security/password-protected SDSU Google Drive folder that will only be accessible by members of the research team. Data will be destroyed 3 years after the end of this study. The results of your participation in this study may be used for publication or for scientific purposes, but the results will not include any information that could identify you. Protecting your privacy is a top priority for us and we will use many safety procedures to do so. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent allowed by the law. However, the study team members are required by California law to report suspected child or elder abuse to the appropriate authorities. In addition, we may breach confidentiality if you disclose that you or someone you know is suicidal or at risk for self-harm. If reporting is necessary, your approval is not needed for us to report to the appropriate help and agencies. Your well-being and the well-being of others are most important.


If you have any questions about the research now, please ask. If you have questions later, you may contact Dr. Jennifer Felner by phone (619.738.1326) or email (Jfelner@sdsu.edu). If you have any questions about your rights as a participant in this study, or in the event of a research-related injury, you may contact the Division of Research Affairs at San Diego State University (telephone: 619-594-6622; email: irb@sdsu.edu).  At any time during the research, you can contact the IRB for questions about research rights, to discuss problems, concerns, or suggestions, or to offer input.


We will not contact you about the study results. However, we are working to make our study findings available quickly and will share results in community and policy research briefs and presentations, as well as in scientific manuscripts.