Week 45: 19th- 23rd December 2016

Reviewed and reflected on the feedback from Assessors report and prepared a draft response as a basis for discussion on the 21 December 2016 with my supervisors.

Discussion Report can be accessed here: Draft Response Assessors Report

Supervisor arrangements

Andrew- will take a step back in 2017 for own research and swapped positions with Milica.

From 1st January 2017 Milica will be primary supervisor until Andrew returns. However, regular meetings with Andrew are scheduled.

Definition of play

Over the weekend I’ve revised the definition and created a figure to support the theoretical write up.


 Supervisor meeting 21st December 2016


Link between Lefebvre

explain production of space

how is each element linked to play

Small review of quality of space literature in relation to play and why is play important part of it.

Why can a behaviour approach can be used in the context
Be careful with mixing resolving something and explorational pursuit

Explain the three examples more. –> explain the behavioural study

Explain a bit more the diagram and the definition.



Is play in us or in the environment?  –> hypothesis

Health and well-being needs to be more clearly linked.

Hypothesis exercise

end up being a traditional PhD.


Brainstorming after meeting

research and explain the

Social cognition and interpersonal perception

Situationist –> alternative life experiences through the construction of situations,


Lefebvre, H. (1991). Production of space.

“A society is a space and an architecture of concepts, forms and laws whose abstract truth is imposed on the reality of the senses, of bodies, of wishes and desires.” p. 139

“Metaphor and metonymy are not figures of speech – at least not at the outset. They become figures of speech. In principle, they are acts. (…) they bring fourth form  the depths not what is there but what is sayable, what is suceptible of figureartion- in short, language.”  p. 139

“Symbols always imply an emotional investment, an affective charge…and thereafter ‘represented’ for the benefit of everybody elsewhere.” p. 141

He speaks of reading of space.. which is possible. “Space is at once result and cause, product and producer; it is also a stake, the locus of projects and actions deployed as part of specific strategies, and hence also the object of wagers on the future- wagers which are articulated, if never completely.  p. 142-143

“In produced space, acts reproduce ‘meanings’ even if no ‘one’ gives and account of them. Repressive space wreaks repression and terror even though it may be strewn with ostensible signs of the contrary (of contentment, amusement or delight). This tendency has gone so far that some architects have even begun to call either for a return to ambiguity, in the sense of a confused and not immediate interpretable message, or else a diversification of space which would be consistent with a liberal and pluralistic society.” p.144-145.

Robert Venturi –> architect wanted to make space dialectical (1966). He saw the space not as an empty and neutral milieu occupied by dead objects, but rather as a field of force full of tensions and distortions.” p. 145

Lefebvre’s  conclusion “We have seen that the visual space of transparency and readability has a content -a content that it is design to conceal: namely, the phallic realm of (supposed) virility. It is at the same time a repressive space: nothing in it escapes the surveillance of power. Everything opaque, all kinds of partitions, even walls simplified to the point of mere drapery, are destined to disappear.” p, 147

He also suggests based on the notion that we are designing now buildings with steel and glass that “private life ought to be enclosed, and have a finite, or finished, aspect. Public space, by contrast, ought to be an opening outwards. What we see happening is just the opposite.” p.147

Space related to:

Form, structure and function -> structural or functional  analysis p. 147

aegis–> public areas (the spaces of social relationships and actions) are connected up the private areas (spaces for contemplation, isolation and retreat) via ‘mixed’ areas (linking thoroughfares)

shin-gyo-sho embraces three levels bound together by relationships of reciprocal implications: spatial and temporal, mental and social. p. 153

It is not about decoding a system –> rather creating one. Differences between Japanese philosophy and western civilisation. p. 156

Its about bringing the realms into harmony and not through use of sign and its analytical proclivities. p. 156










Week 43: 5th- 9th December 2016

Monday (5th Dec) facilitation a workshop with 22 school children form Giralang in Canberra. Student age ranged from 8- 10 years.

Task: Imagine and create your ideal street.
Time frame: 45 minutes
Groups size: 5-6 pupils
Material: Cardboard, plasteline, markers, glue, coloured paper, scissors, tape, wooden sticks

Some of the outcomes were:
– sofas on streets,- a water and sand play area on every street,
– Rock climbing streets,
– Areas where you can find pets (sharing them across the street)
– Tree houses,
– Cubby houses,
– Star lab,
– Parks and trees,
– Swings,
– Biggest adventure playground in the world,
– area where you are allowed to make a fire,
– miniature race space,
– most Cul-de-sac were converted into water play areas or other recreational spaces,
– road space was narrowed to one lane in pink colour and a parcoure put in
– playing field at the end of the street
– conversion into one way street

–> interestingly no child was drawing cars in the street

Rachel, Tom, Lisa and I will write up an article for a journal paper in Design Principles and Practices Journal: Design in Society https://secure.cgpublisher.com/conferences/382/web/proposals/new_proposal_entry


completed the review of Donald Appleyards book: street compiling ten years of his research on traffic and neighbourhood streets. Note stickers are in the book.


Idea: to restructure the PhD topic down to street and not cities. (helps to narrow the focus)

Based on the reading I’ve once more revisited the three questions trying to narrow down the research problem:

  • What is an optimal experience for people in street spaces?
  • What are the environmental triggers that facilitate change?
  • How can this device be used to support optimal urban experiences in public spaces?

After that I’ve revisited the introduction and the provisional title (see link below)


Martin Heidegger (1972). On Time and Being. Harper &Row. New York.

Definition: dialectic

‘adrift inn contradictory statements… One allows the contradictions to stand, even sharpens them and tries to bring together in comprehensive unity what contradicts itself and thus falls apart. This procedure is called dialectic.’ p.4

‘To think Being itself explicitly requires disregarding Being to the extent that it is only grounded and interpreted in terms of beings and for beings as their ground, as in all metaphysics. To think Being explicitly requires us to relinquish Being as the ground of beings in favor of the giving which prevails concealed in unconcealment, that is, in favor of the It gives. As the gift of this It gives, Being belongs to giving. As a gift, Being is not expelled from giving.’ p. 6

‘We perceive presencing in every simple, sufficiently unprejudiced reflection on things of nature (Vorhandenheit) and artifacts (Zuhandenheit). Thing of nature and artifacts are both modes oppressively when we consider that absence, too, indeed absence most particularly, remains determined by a presencing which at times reaches uncanny proportions.’  p. 7

‘Plato represented Being as idea and as the koinonia of the Ideas, when Aristotle represents it as energeia, Kant as position, Hegel as the absolute concept, Nietzsche as the will to power, these are not doctrines advanced by chance, but rather words of Being as answers to a claim which speaks in the sending concealing itself, in the “there is, It gives, Being”. Always retained in the withdrawing sending, Being is unconcealed for thinking with its epochal abundance of transmutations. p.9

In relation to present and time: ‘we understand the present as the now as distinct from the no-longer-now of the past and the not-yet- now of the future. But the present speaks at the same time of presence. However, we are not accustomed to defining the peculiar character of time with regard to the present in the sense of presence. Rather, we represent time- the unity of present, past and future- in terms of the now.” p. 11

Kant says: time thus represented: ‘It has only one dimension’ in Critique of Pure Reason, A31, B47).

Time-space: ‘the name for the openness which opens up in the mutual self-extending of futural approach, past and present. This openness exclusively and primarily provides the space in which space as we usually know it can unfold. The self-extending, the opening up, of future, past and present is itself pre-spatial; only thus can it make room, that is, provide space. ‘ p.14
Time-space as commonly understood, in the sense of the distance measured between tow time- points, is the result of time calculation. In this calculation, time represented as a line and parameter and thus one-dimensional is measured out in terms of numbers. The dimensionality of time, thought as the succession of the sequence of nows, is borrowed from the representation of three- dimensional space.’ p. 14

True time is four-dimensional. past, present, future and nature of matter. –> holds them toward one another in the nearness by which the three dimensions remain near one another. (nearing nearness, nearhood –> Nahheit) used by Kant. Brings future, past and present near to one another by distancing them. p.15

‘Time is not the product of man, man is not the product of time. There is no production here. There is only giving in the sense of extending which opens up time-space.’ p.16

‘What determines both, time and Being, in their own, that is, int heir belonging together, we shall call: Ereignis, the event of Appropriation.’ It is not simply an occurrence, but which makes any occurrences possible. p.19

His conclusion: “The task or our thinking has been to trace Being to it own form Appropriation- by way of looking through true time without regard to the relation of Being to beings. To think Being without beings means: to think Being without regard to metaphysics. Yet a regard for metaphysics still prevails even in the intention to overcome metaphysics to itself. If overcoming remains necessary, it concerns that thinking that explicitly enters Appropriation in order to say It in terms of It about It. Our task is unceasingly to overcome the obstacles that tend to render such saying inadequate.’ p. 24

After finishing the Heidegger book I’ve revisited and amended once more the three research questions:

What urban street environment is optimal for playful experiences?
What are the environmental triggers that facilitate change?
How can play as a heuristic device be used to allow for optimal urban experiences in streets?

Street literature

Key aspects from

Appleyard, D., Gerson, S., Lintell, M. (1981). Liveable Streets. University of California Press Berkley. Los Angeles, London.

First line in the book in relation to the lived experience in ancient streets in Rome:


The incessant night traffic and the hum of noise condemned the Roman to everlasting insomnia. “What sleep is possible in a lodging?” he asks. The crossing of wagons in the narrow, winding streets, the swearing of drivers brought to a standstill, would snatch sleep from a sea-calf or the emperor Claudius himself.


Carcopino, Daily Life in Ancient Rome p.1

Nearly everyone in the world lives on a street. People have always lived on streets. They have been the places where children first learned about the world, where neighbors met, the social centers of towns and cities, the rallying points for revolts, the scenes of repression. But they have also been the channels for transportation and access; noisy with the clatter of horses’ hooves and the shouts of their drivers, putrid with dung, garbage, and mud, the place where strangers intruded and criminals lurked. p.1

In the nineteenth century the streets of European and American cities were no better than those of ancient Rome, although outside observers saw dirt and overcrowding as the main problems. p.1

–> today’s problem streets have predominately movement function, air pollution (fine dust and smog), noise pollution, and marginalisation of all other street function that lead to impacts on health and well-being in particular higher levels of physical inactivity, overweight and obesity, leading to diabetes two as well as depression

Garden City movement sought to make streets safe though cul-de-sacs, residential squares and neighbourhood units, with safe pedestrian pathways to the school. Modern architects “freed” their buildings from the street by placing them at right angles to develop quite green spaces.

–> increased car ownership (still continuing) more traffic as predicted; parking lots and more roads replace safe green open spaces. P.3

1961 Jane Jacobs glorified the intricacy and diversity of the old city and called for a return to the street. ”She argued that the lively urban street, was the safest place in the city.” Criminals could be identified on it, while in the parks and anonymous grounds of modern housing projects no one took it upon themselves to look out for others.” P. 3

Colin Buchannan in England published an influential report Traffic in Towns, à the report suggested to introduce the concept of zoning the city into “environmental areas”, where the environment would be the dominant concern. P.3

Herbert Ganz focused on the social homogeneity in neighborly relations. (1968). He also accused Jacobs of falling for “environmental determinism” by arguing that the design of housing and streets could in itself bring diversity to urban street life. P.4

Environmental concern really just begun to emerge in the 1980 in the US and looking into the overall satisfaction in residential areas.

Studies in 1975 emerged that found noise in the street due to heavy traffic. The most poignant issue was the large number of children injured or killed by traffic. p.5

The 12th international study week in traffic engineering and safety in 1974 reported that 84% of children under 10 years of age were injured within 800 m of home, and 70% of all accidents in the Netherlands involved children under 6 occured in streets carrying less than 3000 cars a day. p.8

OECD conference April 1975 “Better towns with less traffic” the street has personal and social meaning for adults and old people, too. We need not romanticize street life to be willing to protect it. p.9

First there must be a community willing to address the traffic issue. p. 10

four steps:

  1. thorough understanding of activities and mindset of the residential area (e.g. problems with groups and change);
  2. variety of strategies can create more livable streets and protected neighbourhoods to alleviate conditions where traffic in necessary.
  3. Effective participation programs that inform and encourage those affected by traffic changes to become involved in the planning process. –> I would suggest changes to meaningful engagement
  4. Reliable and relevant methods of assessing the costs and benefits of changes to different population and stakeholder groups. p.11


environmental analysis of the City Planning Department of San Francisco on the Urban Design Plan in 1969. p.15

  • vegetation
  • quality of view
  • maintenance
  • facade variety
  • distinctiveness form other street blocks
  • distance of each block from open space

Finding: streets with heavy traffic have no children on its block outside. p.16

Traffic noise index (Griffith and Langdon 1968)

Ask about important feature of the public (street) space to the person. p.24



to explore what is it like to live on as street where people can play? Several ways in which more streets can be safer and healthier for people?





Week 41: 21st- 25th November 2016

After the comments of the assessor’s at the confirmation seminar last week, I took the opportunity to reflect and go through my own comments. Unpacking the session with my supervisors was helpful in order to contexcualise aspects. Valuable were the following:

  • keep narrowing down;
  • revisit research question and my aim as tools to narrow the scope further;
  • stick to my methodology and methods.
  • as it is not about existentialism or discourse analysis rather an observation of a phenomena providing insights into the dynamics and tension of the triad of spaces in light of the the affordance theory form Gibson and Flow. The tension can be made visible through the heuristic device of play explaining transformational change in time space of public urban spaces (streets environments)
  • This research is not traditional phenomenology (Merleau- Ponty) – environmental psychology based on Gibson and Kaplan
  • unpack further the meaning of play in the context of my research
  • justify further why the street (go back to Appleyard)
  • read again Lefebvre in order to explain the context of time when he wrote this and compare to the contemporary environments
  • the concept of “Right to the city” was seen from Andrew as an opportunity to dive further into as a basis to root this tension of space through play.

send email off the HDR waiting for feedback on the confirmation seminar that I can proceed.

Notes from literature work (23 Nov):

Henri Lefebvre “critique of Everyday Life” 1947 (translated 1991)

Since Marx and through the notion of making alienation a key concept in analysing the human situation Lefebvre was the first philosopher who connected philosophy to action. P. x

“Man must be everyday, or he will not be at all” p. xix

Own observation/ reflection

The tension in urban public spaces between the production of space and the regulation accompanied by the consumption of spaces is evident and even more prominent in the contemporary context of humans and the urban condition.

City governments around the world aim for the creation of equitable and just places, as it is supported by the New Urban Agenda. However, the current condition shows inconsistencies and tensions. Urban designers and architects aim to deliver under the promise of vibrancy and vitality quality urban spaces for all. Contemporary urban renewal processes focus strongly on objects in combination with land value capture propositions and increase liveability. Urban vibrancy is increasingly delivered under the paradigm of consumption and productivity. This not just reflects the neoliberal zeitgeist, but also raises questions around alienation and correlation to mental health issues in urban systems. These tensions can be made visual through play as a heuristic device.

Alienation leads to impoverishment, to the ‘despoliation’ of everyday life. However, Lefebvres everyday life is not reduced to inauthenticity of Alltäglichkeit, as in Heidegger or Lukács. P. xxiv

Modernity which has despoiled the everyday life of former times, which never appeared save in its metamorphoses, as in festival, which embodied a genuine ‘auto-critique’ of the everyday; it is modernity which has caused everyday life to degenerate into ‘the everyday’ p. xxvi

Modernity is the movement towards the new, the deployment of technology and rationality (which Lefebvre calls ‘modernism’), but it is also the absence of any real transformation of social relations, and leads from the human towards the inhuman, towards barbarity. P. xxvii

–> play behaviour mobile phone in public space –> transformation of the mind?? Less ‘real’ social interaction –> interactions of the minds –> disconnected from the ‘real’ –> but there is Pokemon Go??

Habermas distinction between System and Lebenswelt informed the work and impacted the debate in the second half of the 20th century in Europe.

Naïve, physically adept but spiritually innocent – Charlie Chaplin

Visually comic moments when Chaplin when he cannot adept create laughter and assure that humor never becomes awkward or embarrassing. Like pleasure, like harmony in music, laughter is stimulated by a series of resolved tensions, in which moments of relaxation are followed by even higher tension. P.10

Strangeness –> alienation

Through deviation through disorientation and strangeness, Chaplin reconciles us on a higher level, with ourselves, with things and with the humanized world of things. P.11

Restricting access to these pressures urban spaces.

“there are plenty of reasons for thinking that descriptions and cross-sections of this kind, through they may well supply  inventories of what exist in space, or even generate a discourse on space, cannot ever give rise to  a knowledge of space. And, without such a knowledge, we are bound to transfer onto the level of mental space – a large portion of the attributes and ‘properties’ of what is actually social space.” p.7

the physical experience in cities occupied by sensory phenomena, including products of the imagination such as projects and projections, symbols and utopias. p.11

space of social practice

focus on dialectic rather codes –> highlighting contents inherent to the forms under consideration. p. 18

25 Nov.

After reading several papers on Lefebvre and the context of his work it became clearer why his work is relevant in the contemporary urban academic debates.

The social space development within the triad of spaces can reflect the state of development of societies. Therefore it serves not just as an instrument for space observation (play) but may explain certain transformation of social conditions in cities. –> concepts that are non instrumental, spatial separated and public.

Conflicts can be made visual through the heuristic device of play. Stevens rightly pointed our that there is to date very little empirical evidence and understanding in the “non-functional” use and design of public space. He references Lennard and Lennard (1984), Dargan and Zeitlin (1990) as well as Borden (2001). Also he indicated that Gehl and Whytes work are mostly space- centred investigating general categories of everyday behaviour.

Stevens draw on observations of a range of cities over a long period. Critique point from him is that urban design foundation is amenity, but this can draw some people away. another issue is that we thrive to figure out how  spatial characteristics  shape people’s experiences and behaviours. Amentity again is being seen as the solution to a desired outcome that share the physical environment. However people understanding, their actions is well understood and fixed.

–> play and the city –> discover of the potential of urban streets.

–> development of an tool or a play ‘lense’ that can be used to make this tension visible and help to find solutions for urban design interventions.

Revised research question:

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

Finding a way how to look beyond some of the limits of urban design thinking and practice.

Week 32: 19th – 23rd Sept. 2016


Method test on the ground

Carried out in Potsdam on 20, 21 and 22nd Sept. 2016

Content research suitcase

Notebook, pens in different colours, tripod, poster, information flyer, maps, GoPro camera, microchips (two 64 GB), 5 extra batteries, mobile phone (includes Apps for noise level recording, interview recording, time, and weather analysis, panorama picture function), external hard drive  (2 Terra byte) for data storage.


20th September 2016

Inspection of location as well as testing of phase one (investigation for traces of play)

Location: pedestrian zone and shared space Brandenburger Strasse, Potsdam

Weather condition: sunny, no wind, 27 degrees

Notes: Took many pictures of grafitty, stickers on electricity boxes, marks on street furniture (including benches, bike racks and street light poles), bike rental station, bins with stickers, bicycles, charcoal drawings on footpath “Frieden”, flower beds, signs

Walked over to site two ( dutch quarter shared space environment). Due to the fact that there were no benches in the public realm I did not decide to go forward with this site. As agreed in the Ethics approval I need to remain in the public realm for research.

21st September 2016

Arrival at Position Nr. one (Brandenburger Strasse corner Lindenstrasse)

Time: around 6.30 am

Weather: temperature in the morning 14 degrees, few clouds, no wind, sunny

Noise level recording: Time 7:05 am (Normal conversation level, loud singing, inside car) –> dB statistic on external hard drive)


Notes are recorded in the black notebook.

Reflection on my own action:

In the beginning I recorded too much information and feelings –> the later the day it became more and more clearer what is relevant information and what is less useful.

  • people started to walk through the area from 7.20 am onwards
  • most playful behaviour is riding bike, listening to music, playing on mobile phones, window shopping, play around, joking around
  • morning tea (warming up from 8.40 am -9.20 am)
  • all three additional camera batteries were all depleted  at 12 noon –> abort observation for the day and trying to get more battery packs.
  • through traffic was possible (for vehicles)

First position:



Arrival at second position: Brandenburger Strasse corner Dorusstraße at 9.20 am

Weather: temperature in the morning 21 degrees, no wind, sunny

Noise level recording: Time 9.47 am (Normal conversation level, inside car) –> dB statistic on external hard drive)

Reflection notes:

  • Street dynamic has changed as bicycles starting to disappear. Pedestrians take over.
  • New kinds of play behaviour starting to emerge: more groups, people walking hand in hand, more people walking their dogs, more people on phones and window shopping.
  • Data is listed in detail and recorded on external hard drive.
  • try to record a 360 image
  • through traffic for vehicles was partly possible (one side only)




In the afternoon results of playful behaviour have been added to the assessment matrix.


 22nd September 2016

Arrival at Position Nr. one (Brandenburger Strasse corner Herman- Elflein Strasse)

Time: around 6.50 am

Weather: temperature in the morning 11 degrees cool, light wind, sunny

Noise level recording: Time 6:51 am (Loud singing, inside car, normal conversation)

Remarks on recording:

  • much better in quality, richer and precise
  • I am starting to record just useful data in combination with time of activity and visual assessment in relation to body weight.
  • unable to contact and disrupt people in all kinds of play activity such as riding bike and listening to music and joggers
  • pavement type has an impact on movement and kerbs in relation to demarcation
  • through traffic was possible on one side only
  • due to the location near a landmark building more people stopped here and engaged in playful behaviour (in the form of photography) than in any of the other positions. –> perhaps a direct correlation between objects (built environments) and the subject




Morning break between 8:40 am – 9.20 am

Second noise level test: 10:03 am (loud singing, insight car, automobile)

Due to the cool morning temperature the battery life became shorter, despite of the fact that I had one more battery  I was urged to conclude observations around 1 pm.

–> need to get hold of at least two more battery packs. However I was able to use the afternoon to fill in the play matrix.


I was able to record until my batteries died. With the second microchip I can record now easily up to 10 hours of data. When exporting them onto the hard drive I am able to take high resolution screen shots of examples of playful behaviour. Also I can do an exact count of bicycles and pedestrians if required.

I found it difficult to leave the equipment behind and start unstructured interviews with people who displayed playful behaviour as there were suspicious individuals around, that could take advantage of the situation.

Also choosing my position based on the notion of available bench space may be not as optimal as vantage points. A small camping chair would be good to have.

The decision to drop the other street environments is due to the high amount of time it may take to storage, recharge and analysis the research data. This testing phase led me to the conclusion to drop two of the three subunits in each city in order to work with better quality data on a confined space. Otherwise I may need to spend carrying out research in each of them for 10-15 days (pending on weather condition) and almost the same time to analysis the data of each day.



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 25: 1st – 5th August 2016

“Human science seeks to know the reality which is particularly our own, the reality of our experience, actions, and expressions. This realm is closest to us, yet it is most resistant to our attempt to grasp it with understanding. Because of the success we have had knowing the world around us, the human realm has expanded its power to such an extent that we can act to create wellbeing and physical security and comfort and to inflict untold suffering and destruction. Serious and rigorous re-searching of the human realm is required.”
Polkinghorne (1983, p. 280-1)

I’ve done more thinking and contemplation in relation to my research approach. The heuristic inquiry as well as grounded theory as a form of phenomenological research. My project may very well be a mixture of both. As I will be immersing myself in the activity and need to reflect on the experience. There is this element to it in order to answer my question relating to the felt experience in this realm. Thinking of Lefebvre’s triad of spaces. The inquiry in the lived realm justifies the heuristic inquiry. Pending on data quality a new theory may or may not emerge. Therefore I am hesitant to rule out grounded theory at this stage.  But there must be a method in between that works for me.

Play is an activity that forces us to let go of our ego (collaborative play), is transformative of space and time. It transcendence space on all three realms.

Braud, W. & Anderson, R. (Eds) (1998) Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences: Honoring human experience. Sage. (p.256-283)

Conventional methods: Grounded theory, Action research, Case study, experimental design

Intermediate methods: Phenomenological approach, heuristic approach, participatory inquiry

Transpersonal methods: intuitive inquiry, transpersonal- phenomenological
inquiry, inquiry informed by exceptional human experiences

Researching human experience

Issue with grounded phenomenological experience in relation to play:

The principled experience: leading to knowledge derived from an imposed order. –> play does not have an order
Discovered experience:
derived from everyday happenings, events –> play can be that
Vulgar:  common, ordinary normal experiences –> play is not that
focus on the content of thought (whether real or imagined) —> play can be both as well can be unintentional
Assimilated: expected, predicted, absorbed into our current perspective –> play can be spontaneous
Lived experience: centred in the self –> can be

Opportunities with subtle phenomenological experience in relation to play:

It provides deeper, more meaningful insights and altered state of consciousness.

Discerned experience: leading to knowledge of a “found” order –> as play emerges out of the moment and is born in the empty with no order, it may be very well just be found. Discovered while observing the realms.
Practiced: induced experiences through rituals, shared practices –> playful activity can be very well shared and certain activities such as ball games can have ritual characteristics.
Extraordinary: uncommon, unusual, unique experiences –> play is happening outside of the ordinary as well as a unique experience.
Transcendent: the experience of knowing itself, witnessing the act of knowing –> just me as the observe on the phenomenon can witness this spontaneous act –> therefore I get to know the behaviour.
Transformative:  generating insight and permanent change –> play generates insight in peoples state of mind and place of meaning. However it does not evolve permanent changes
Transpersonal experience:  beyond self, “what am I a part of?” –> play can be very well that.

Conclusive remarks

When researching human experiences and recognising potential tensions between phenomenological experiences, I may very well focus on “subtle” theory generation for all the very reasons mentioned above.


Dave Hils provided valuable insights with his online paper in relation to heuristic inquiry and transpersonal research.

Paper presented to CCPE, London – October, 2001. Dave Hiles 2001






Week 22: 11th- 15th July 2016


Writing of an article in relation to play and posted on Synergies website and professional networks (reach 20000 people) to test the project and get some responses.


Meeting at Uni in relation to the Ethics (13th July):

  • will need to prepare a Poster and flyer
  • translate my consent forms and research information forms in the Vietnamese and German.
  • narrowed scope of research down to the urban morphology of different street scapes in correlation to speed environments. This has been considered in the amendments in the ethics proposal.
  • preparation of response to ethics in relation to issues raised, includes choice of cases based on connection and previous experience in these countries. Partners can be named.

Forms and response:

Ethic concern response;

Research Consent Form;

Nghiên cứu Mẫu đồng ý;


Teilnehmer Informationen;

Participant-Information Form GHM;


Tham gia mẫu thông tin;



Smith Sutton (Ambiguity of play) detailed typology of play will be useful to create subcategories based on Callois 4 types of play. This can make the coding and observation much more structured and easier to analyse.

Overseas contact

This week I’ve made contact with the National University of Civil Engineering in Hanoi in relation to support on research. Positive response have been received confirming the interest and support for research.

Reasoning behind units

Lived experience and work experience in the selected cities.

Reasoning behind subunits

Focus on street environments only. Based on research findings on the correlation with traffic speed (Sauter and Huettenmoser, 2008), streets with higher place functions have been chosen for the research (Department for Transport (UK), 2010).

  1. Pedestrian zone
  2. Shared space/ path
  3. residential streets