Week 42: 28th November – 2nd December 2016

Work on narrowing and defining the street environment:

Also  I’ve been thinking about my research approach, based on the work Stevens has done. The next logical step is to create a tool (mechanism) how to measure play in urban streets. This can not just reveal the tension between consumption and production of space, but help to give designers a tool to assessing  play in cities.

Defining the problem in context of the street (why street):

  • street has a movement function as well as a place function.
  • sections can be confined
  • easy to observe people (public space)

Traditionally (pre- industrialisation) the street had a high place or production function. In particular with the advent of the car the street was given more a movement function. While acknowledging that the street can and have to cater for both there needs to be a balance achieved in order to enable healthier neighbourhood (e.g. social inclusion, cohesion, air quality, noise, perception of safety etc.).

One may argue that the place function in streets is increasing lost. Speculation and thoughts around causes lead to change in perception of safety, volume and speed of vehicles (movement function), less objects that attract (physical attributes that appear to people), quality of micro- climates.

Urban design literature has investigated numerous ways to increase the quality of spaces through amenity. Steven argues that we need to shift towards a more holistic approach. In his book he elaborated through a discourse analysis on the dialectic of play in the city.

I believe an empirical approach through precise classifications (tool) of play behaviour in urban streets may add value to his approach.

Stevens: ” The propability of play also appears to be enhanced by greater connectivity and permeability  in the circulation network a a whole (p. 69).

When a street system is densely interconnected, any particular street or site which may be a destination in itself is also a secondary or incidental destination within many other orbits of activity (Alexander 1965).

Conclusion –> By creating a  empirical tool  that can assess the quality for play in a street –> this may be a way forward to improve health and well-being.

Heuristic inquiry through observation

Revisiting research question (test writing without play):

What makes place optimal for people( fun) in cities?
What are the environmental triggers that support improved outcomes for people (fun) in cities?
How can our cognitive behaviour (fun) contribute or create health co-benefits in cities?

Test now with the amended questions from week 41:

  • What are the aspects of peoples cognitive behaviour (fun) that reveal and facilitate change in the urban social spaces?
  • What are the  health co-benefits of fun?
  • How can this device be used to inform optimal urban experiences?

Next steps revisit my classification of play and investigate place theories?

Elements of play:

overview

Most common play behaviour’s assessed in Potsdam (under old definition):

  1. playing around
  2. Putting something into play
  3. making play with someone
  4. playing up on words
  5. playing tricks
  6. playing for time

Callois four categories:

Vertigo

  1. Cycling
  2. loosing weight (jogging, running)
  3. bike racing
  4. twisting/ rotating

Simulation

  1. pets (walking the dog)
  2. using computer devices (smart phone/ internet/ virtual reality)
  3. listening to music
  4. imagination/ day dreaming (holding hands)
  5. window shopping
  6. photography / reading and writing
  7. toys (playing with sticks, loose material

Chance

  1. joking
  2. speech play
  3. playing with metaphors
  4. playing music/ voices

Competition

  1. collection (coin machine)
  2. bike racing
  3. jogging

Attempt to use the results of my test phase to inform the development of the classification. However note, that these classification sit under the assumption that play is an intrinsic induced activity, that constitutes freedom, based on the acceptance of risk in its temporary transformational nature.

Note: Look into situationists, political activism and concept of ‘leisure’, habitus, place theory (what makes a place)

Consumptive street spaces

measures of elements which are examples of play:

  • distances (object to subject and subject to subject)
  • level and sorts of playful social interactions
  • movement through space (speeds)
  • level of risk/ perceived safety
  • active frontages
  • commercial use of the space (outside dinning, display of commercial goods and services)

Literature:

Merleau- Ponty. (1958). Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge Classics. London and New York.

‘It requires that two perceoved lines, like two real lines, should be equal or unequal, that a perceived crystal should have a definite number of sides, without realizing that the perceived, by its nature, admits of the ambiguous, the shifting, and is shaped by its context. p.13

Müller-Lyer’s illission, one of the lines ceases to be equal to the other without becoming ‘unequal’: it becomes ‘different’. That is to say, an isolated, objective line, and the same line takes in a figure, cease to be, for perception, ‘the same’. p.13

The word perception indicates a direction rather than a primitive function. p.13

A shape is nothing but a sum of limited views, and the consciousness of a shape is a collective entity. The sensible elements of which it is made up cannot lose the opacity which defines them as sensory given, and open themselves to some intrinsic connection, to some law of conformation governing them all. p.16

‘Memory is built out of the progressive and continuous passing of one instant into another, and the interlocking of each one, with its whole horizon, in the thickness of its successor. The same continuous transition implies the object as it is out there, with, in short, its ‘real’ size as I should see it if I were beside it, in the perception that I have of it from here.’ p. 309-310.

‘Movement is merely an accidental attribute of the moving body, and it is not, so to speak, seen in the stone. It can be only a change in the relations between the stone and its surroundings.’ p.312

‘The phenomenon of ‘shift’, and implies the idea of a spatial and temporal position always identifiable in itself.’ p.313

Gestalttheorie –> Wertheimer talks of Erscheinungen and Darstellung p.318

‘Consciousness is removed from being, and from its own being, and at the same time united with them, by the thickness of the world. … The consciousness of the world is not based on self-consciousness: they are strictly contemporary. There is a world for me because I am not unaware of myself; and I am not concealed from myself because I have a world.’ p. 347

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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