understanding the site
the historical development and use, contemporary importance, how it changes over time
'nothing is static!'
natural factors such as water, vegetation, climate, orientation (although water and vegetation is also mostly man made so maybe they're not 'natural' in the sense that they weren't there initially)
man made factors such as the cultural attractions, services, utilities, buildings that surround it etc
how do the roads affect the use and the overall feeling of the site?
elements of design requirements
'separate transitory features from permanent features'
visible/invisible features of the space that all contribute to the character os the site
who uses the space? and perhaps more importantly, who DOESN'T use the space?