Week 27: 15th – 19th August 2016

Meeting with supervisors

  • took place in week 26
  • received valuable feedback on my summary one pager. As I understood the entire PhD hangs off these 500 words.
  • Also I’ve received a valuable article, that creates a useful bridge between physical activity and play where observational methods were used.
  • Thiel, A., Thedinga, H. K., Thomas, S. L., Barkhoff, H., Giel, K. E., Schweizer, O., … Zipfel, S. (2016). Have adults lost their sense of play? An observational study of the social dynamics of physical (in)activity in German and Hawaiian leisure settings. BMC Public Health, 16, 689. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3392-3
  • Conclusion of paper was: in order to get adults more physical active focus on fun message and carry out further studies in leisure time environments.
  • As the predominant form of public realm in cities is street space, it supports the notion that my research can add value and is so far unique.

fieldwork preparation

  • Work on observational coding table continues. I am focusing on types human playful activity, environmental composition (spaces and places) and supportive information (age, gender, body composition, time).
  • important that these measures can be related back to my original research questions.

Documents attached Purpose of research 2081016
fieldwork play types




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?

Week 19: 20th June – 25th June 2016


Australian Play culture – not permitted anymore! (Source: Daily Telegraph June 20, 2016, p. 12)


Draft structure literature review

Structure literature review

  1. Introduction
  2. Cities and everyday life
    • City
    • Everyday life in cities
    • Role of Urban Design in everyday life
      • Place making
      • Tactical Urbanism
    • Typologies in urban design for public life
      • Street
      • Edge
      • Open space
      • Parks
      • Public places
      • Public spaces
      • Third spaces
  1. Play (definitions, explorations)
    • Playful behaviour
    • Typologies of play
    • Human play
      • Children (structured and unstructured)
      • Adolescents
      • Adults
      • Older people
      • People with disadvantages
      • Interaction with other living beings
    • Risk and play
    • Right to play
      • Universal Declaration on Human Rights
      • UN Rights of the Child (Article 12 and 31)
  •  Play culture
    • International context
    • Australia
    • Germanycool
    • Vietnam
    • Finland
  1. Environmental health and well- being
    • Physical health
      • Physical activity
        • Structured physical activity
        • Unstructured physical activity
      • Obesity and overweight
      • Diabetes 2 and other non-communicable diseases
    • Mental health
      • Cognitive development
      • Depression
    • Healthy environments
      • Biophilia (Open space and nature)
      • Safe and attractive places and spaces
      • Connected places
      • Environments for all
      • Supportive infrastructure
      • Built form
  1. Quality experiences in public everyday life
    • Flow
    • Maslow’s pyramid of human needs
    • Gibson’s affordance concept



Play for all- as a path towards the re-establishment of a strong civil society based on space of quality experiences in a prosperous perceived realm of everyday life.

based on reading of “Australian heartlands- making space for hope in the suburbs” by Brendan Gleeson, 2006

Supervisor meeting

  • Confirmation seminar last HDR 2016
  • Research question
  • Development of a one pager (concept context conviction) approx. 500 words
  • Clarification on case study approach

Selection criteria:

  • Germany Australia Finland Vietnam
  • Political systems
  • Geography
  • City size
  • Density/built form
  • Climate
  • Personal experience
  • Open space/built space

Purpose of research 

One pager that outlines the concept, context and my conviction in approximately 500 words can be downloaded by clicking herePurpose of research

Selection criteria case study approach

Political system

  • Vietnam – single party socialistic republic
  • Australia – federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  • Germany, Finland – democratic, federal parliamentary republic
  • Cuba – democratic centralist




Vietnam – tropical

Australia – subtropical

Germany- continental

Finland, Sweden, Denmark –  cool, maritime, continental/ subarctic climate

City size

Need to conceptualise the term ‘mid size city’:

In the context of globalisation, urbanisation and sustainable development goals there seems to be a strong focus and emphasis on the leading large sized cities around the planet. Organisations and Institutions such as C40, Rockefeller Foundation, the LSE Urban Age Program etc. focus with their programs on the mega or large cities. However, mid sized cities will evidently have to deal with similar challenges relating to urban qualities such as housing, social, environment, culture and economy. As a consequence, mid sized cities remain often unexplored to a degree. Often these cities seem to be less well equipped corresponding with their available resources and internal capacity. In the other hand mid sized cities can offer assets that are not available in larger cities. For example in Europe living more than 260 million people in cities with more than 100.000 people, but only 20 percent of them living only in cities with more than 2.5 million people. 44 percent live in cities of less that 500.000 residents. However population size may need to contextualised in the regionally, nationally and internationally. For example in China cities with up to 5 million may still considered as mid sized city.

So population size is a starting point to define mid sized cities.

Cities up and around 500.000 people


  • Kassel (192,874)
  • Potsdam (159,456)
  • Freiburg (229,144)


  • Hoi An (121,716)
  • Hué (333,715)


  • Canberra- Queanbeyan (373,084)
  • Newcastle (489,599)
  • Gold Coast- Tweed (565,705)

Skandinavian countries (Finland, Sweden, Denmark):

  • Helsinki (629512)
  • Malmö (318,107)
  • Copenhagen (591,481)

Why Sweden? Sweden’s Vision Zero road safety policy.

Built form / open space


Personal experience

Work experience in Kassel, Potsdam, Hué, Canberra,








Week 12: 02nd May- 06 MAy 2016

(Source and copyright: Wanderlust 73)


“Shut up and write” session with Tim on Monday. -> grant application assignment submitted.

In order to view the grant application assignment please press here


DAAD grant session

  • Mission that Germany has many international linkages
  • enable research cooperation
  • greater collaboration around ECR’s (just in Aus?)
  • Looking for project for mutual advantage (skill and knowledge exchange on mutual pursuit)
  • clarity about one joined project –> important to come through
  • value and quality outcomes / is it feasible (internal capacity –> Design project)
  • team has to have good track record (impact,engagement, policy and publications)
  • strong level of involvement of PhD
  • bonus for knowledge transfer and lasting industry outcomes
  • builds on practitioners and policy makers –> advantage
  • collaborative product that can inform strategies in real life (policy ) is a big advantage

–> must have a research outcome

If you show less than five years (career interruption etc.)

teaching and research  must have a valid contract for the entire  funding period. Paul need to have a contract with us (adjunct)

Application closes on the 17 June 2016.

Get to know outcomes by November 2016.

10.000 dollar is our cab for UC (not 12.500)



Bachelard, G. (1958) The poetic of space.

Jean Hyppolite on the structure of denegation in the context of the myth of outside and inside: “you feel significance of this myth of outside and inside in alienation, which is founded on these two terms. Beyond what is expressed in their formal opposition lie alienation and hostility between the two.”

Words such as “this side” and “beyond” are faint repitions of the dialectic of inside and outside. –> we seek to determine being and by doing so we transcend all situations. dialectical words such “here” and  “there” are absolutism adverbs of place and therefore endow with unsupervised powers of ontological determination.p.212

Jean Hyppolite, spoken commentary on the Verneinung (negation) of Freud in La Psychanalyse, No. 1, 1956, p. 35 –> in Bachelard, G. (1958) The poetic of space. p. 212

Mais au-dedans, plus de frontières! (But within, no more boundaries) Jean Hyppolite in Bachelard (1958) p.214

Space is nothing but a horrible “outside-inside” –> horrible because it is radical. However if we are spiritually drifting the state of being makes space time ambiguous. In this space there is no geometrical reference point. –> Henri Michaux

Bachelard concludes that with space images, we are in a region where reduction is easy, a commonplace.

Benefit of phenomenology: it makes it a principle to examine and test the psychological being of an image, before any reduction is undertaken. (Bachelard (1958) p.219)

Rilke wrote in a letter to Clara Rilke: “Works of art always spring from those who have faced the danger, gone to the very end of an experience, to the point beyond which no human being can go. The further one dares to go, the more decent, the more personal, the more unique a life becomes.” (Bachelard (1958) p.220) Further he adds: “This  sort of derangement, which is peculiar to us, must go into our works.”

Van Gogh wrote: “Life is probably round.”, Jöe Bousquet wrote: “He had been told that life was beautiful. No! Life is round. Karl Jesper wrote in (Von der Wahrheit, p. 50) “Jedes Dasein scheint in sich rund.” –> Bachelard observes that this roundness cannot appear in its direct truth otherwise than in the purest sort of phenomenological meditation. (Bachelard (1958) p.233)

Butler, C. (2012) Henri Lefebvre: Spatial politics, everyday life and the right to the city. GlassHouse book

Lefebvre on State power and the politics of space:

“The state uses space in such a way that it ensures its control of places, its strict hierarchy, the homogeneity of the whole, and the segregation of the parts. It is thus an administeratively controlled and even policed space.” (1979, p.288 and 2009, p. 188)

Post war planning rationality can be understood to an aesthetic formalisation that works best under the deployment of logic of visualisation. This limitation from a birds eye perspective lacks depth of social dimension. Brandon Gleeson as well as Nicholas Low  consider this as no more than a representation of images and visions. Gleeson, B. and Low, N. (2000) Australian Urban Planning: New Challenges, New Agendas, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, pp 190-191)

Yin (2009) Case study research- Design and Methods. 4th edition, ISBN 978-1-4129-6099-1

When to use case study? (p.13)

  • focus on the contemporary environment (how and why questions)
  • me as the investigator have little or no control.

Use of case study as a tool of inquiry:

  • copes with technical distinctive situation in which there will be many more variables of interest than data points, and as one result
  • relies on multiple sources of evidence, with data needing to converge in a triangulating fashion, and as another result.
  • benefits form the prior development of theoretical propositions to guide data collection and analysis. (p. 18)

Multiple case studies in a illustrative manner

Design approach based on literature review and findings:

Case study design approach

After loosing all my meta data input after browser update today -I’ve took now picture of the relevant tables that informed the development of the case study design approach.