Week 20: 27th June – 1 July 2016

More thoughts

In reference to Lefebrve’s Production of Space:

“If reality is taken in the sense of materiality, social reality no longer has reality, nor is the reality.” p. 81

Thought: It may explain the increased level of depression and anxiety in western cultures.

Dwelling is as much a work as it is considered a product. However it remains a part of nature. It is an object intermediate between work and product, between nature and labour,between the realm of symbols and the realm of signs. p.83

The city may be understood as a work instead of a product. Example Venice, Italy.

If work is defined as a unique, original and primordial, as occupying a space yet associated with a particular time, a time of maturity between rise and decline –> under these circumstances Venice can be understood as a work.p. 73

What if one replaces the term/ word “work” with “play”. This would translate in relation to work in the context of unique act of creation rather production.

If play is defined as a unique, original and primordial, as occupying a space yet associated with a particular time, a time of maturity between rise and decline. –> spaces in cities can be understood as play spaces.

Case study rational

Based on Yin and after many ours of reflection I am testing  a single case study approach (phenomena play) and apply this on several units (precincts in cities). This will allow me to test certain methods and based on success rate to deploy them in an improved manner on other units.

However, while thinking about the approach further there is a part of me who still favours the multiple case study approach. Yin refers to the circumstances that 6-8 case studies are sufficient to prove a phenomenological point, but my project will investigate maximum 4 cases.

Multiple case approach:

  • Each on is a whole study in itself (lends itself to the book -> constructing a narrative behind the context)
  • Weakness might be that this distracts too much from the phenomena
  • It may be impossible to replicate environmental condition for play as their are time temporal and unique pending on outdoor condition.
  • analytical conclusions easier
  • if you do not seek direct replication it is good because of contrasting situation

general critique on single case studies:

  • fear about the uniqueness –> criticism turn into skepticism about the ability to undertake empirical work
  • requires careful investigation of the potential case to minimise the chances of misrepresentation and to maximise the access needed to collect the case study evidence.

critical test of a significant theory.

  • Revelatory case: investigator has an opportunity to observe and analyse a phenomenon previously inaccessible to the social science, Whytes “Street Corner Society” is an example.
  • Representative or typical case: capturing of circumstances or conditions of an everyday lay concept. Informative about experiences.

holistic case study problem: nature of the entire case study may shift, during the course of study. –> would need to make sure that the research questions still apply.


If I would do a single case study, then a embedded unit of analysis would be better. I would have to make sure that the single case- design (play) is eminently justifiable under certain conditions:

does it represents a testing of a theory? Unlikely.

is it a rare or unique circumstance? or representative or typical case? or where the case serves a revelatory case? In my case revelatory case.

Definition of the unit of analysis particular important: in my case precincts in cities (urban morphologies I am looking at). In can also include subunits.

  • Single revelatory case (play)
  • units (city/urban precinct)
  • subunits (urban tissues: public space, open space, park, street, edge)

Yin suggests that often too much attention goes into the subunits and the larger, holistic aspects of the case being ignored.

Multiple case studies: 2 or 3 cases can be undertaken on the basis of replication, but how clear can I define the parameters for replication (every city, every urban environment is unique)

The theoretical framework is particular important as it needs to state the condition under which a particular phenomenon (play) is likely to be found. –>  multiple case study might be better for comparison. Deployment of the same logic in every case.

Pilot case study -> worthwhile  in order to refine data collection plan with respect to content and procedure.

Selection criteria: convenience, access, geographical proximity

single case study embedded approach (revelatory)



multiple case study embedded  approach


Unit of analysis:

  • Definition very important. Unit would be a certain city and the subunits (open space, public space, parks, streets, edges)
  • The unit of analysis can be compared.

I will need to determine the scope of data collection (see methodology), how I distinguish data about the case (play) from external data (context–> cities, health and well-being in general).

Spatial, temporal and other concrete boundaries need to be defined as key to defining my case (play).

Revisiting the research question

Validation after amendments to case study approach and in order to be clearer, narrower  and less vague.

Led research question

Original: Why does play in cities matter?


  • Why do people play in cities?
  • Why should cities be designed for play?
  • Why do people prefer certain environments for play in the cities?

Answering research questions (White, 2009, p.114 ff.)

data –> warrant –> conclusion (Gorard, 2002)

The conclusion needs to be linked to the evidence via the warrant. The warrant is a logical argument demonstrating why the conclusions follow from my evidence.

Claims need to be stated clear and precise.

Prepare to defend claims against alternative interpretation.

Warrant can be a principle

E.g. if a greater number of play incidents are observed at a particular point in time compared to another point in time, this may constitutes a rise or frequency in playful behaviour.

play at time A: 6

play at time B: 15

Warrant principle

claim: play activity increased


Case study definitions & Selection criteria


The case will be the phenomena of play, in the context of human playful behaviour.  The definition of play:

Play is an intrinsic induced activity, that constitutes freedom, based on the acceptance of risk in its temporary transformational nature. It includes attributes such as spontaneity, curiosity, voluntary and creative processes that occur outside of the ordinary. This purposeless activity is necessary to the human identity as an exploratory pursuit of pleasure and comfort outside of social purpose.


Precincts in mid- size cities (see results week 19 blog).


Public place:


Open space:

Open space refers to land that has been consciously or unconsciously reserved for the purpose of either formal or informal activity such as sport and recreation, preservation of natural environments, provision of green space and/or urban storm water management.



Why these four categories?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s