Are traditional observational planning methods applicable to the growing range of contemporary urban settings? These methods, which include the approaches of Kevin Lynch, Jane Jacobs, William Whyte, Allan Jacobs, and Jan Gehl, were identified and analysed in an ethnocultural, suburban context. Specifically, they were applied to Pacific Mall in Markham, which was selected as a case study. Observations were compared to Dr. Zhixi Zhuang’s in-depth research, who determined what was and was not missed. This comparison determined that while the observational methods were able to read the landscape, there was cultural information not possible to establish through observation alone. Practicing planners need to better consider this cultural information when analysing space. This includes the culture of the space, the intended users of the space, legibility for these users, and what information to include in reports to better plan for places that are culturally unknown to the planners responsible for them.