Based on the constructive meeting with Milica last week- the epistemological contribution of this research project became very clear and led to a revision of the PhD proposal.
The revised draft can be accessed here and has been send over to the supervisor for comments.
- the title has changed to : “Play in the city- an international exploration of the play experience in urban streets.”
- the literature review changed completely and includes the definition of play as well as the operationalisation categories of play in cities.
- the objective and the aim has been amended.
- The research paradigm includes an an explanation of the conceptual triad of spaces
- The methodology part lays a rational account why I choose Yin’s case study approach and two instead of three units.
- The PhD thesis structure is now in a traditional format.
- Budget requirement is significantly lower as as the Vietnam case has been dropped, but can be revisited at a later stage.
- The methods remained the same, but I man thinking of changing the interviews from unstructured interviews on the street, to targeted semi-structured interviews with targeted individuals instead. (This will allow me to link the ream of memory and play to the great streets (Jacobs, A. research) in the city for play.
Richard Sennett (1990). The Conscience of the eye. The Design of Social Life of Cities. faber and faber. London & Boston.
‘A city of differences and of fragments of life that do not connect: in such a city the obsessed are set free.’ p. 125
‘Deviance is the freedom made possible in a crowded city of lightly engaged people. But a community of single, middle- aged woman also deviates form the ‘normal’ connection between family and community; immigrants who barely speak the language of natives deviate, so do political radicals… Were one would add up all the “deviant” populations in many big cities, the deviants would form the majority.’ p. 127
The moral order is disorder. ‘The urban dweller passes from place to place, activity to activity, taking on the coloring of each scene, as easily as a chameleon changes colors in various surroundings.’ p. 127
‘A fragmented self is more responsive. Thus Enlightenment unity and coherence are not, in this urban vision, the means to self-development- an ever more complex, fragmented experience is.’ p. 127
Chicago urbanists came to the conclusion that ‘differences produce disordered reactions rather than the clear perceptions that occur in simpler, more controlled environments’. p.127
Sennett suggests in response to the conclusion ‘Nor did the Chicago urbanists equate and a community: if stimulation occurs as individuals move between communities and scenes, gradually people lose an inner life, they become their skins, their “segmented roles.” This was how the Chicago urbanists came to celebrate the outside, the exposure of humans to one other.’ p. 128
Thought: is a healthy city and place which contains spaces for the inside, safety, intimacy and reflection. A space where people can take their time of explore and making sense of the connections between outside and inside. Playful engagement as a means to gain consciousness.
‘Sheer exposure to difference is no corrective to the Christian ills of inwardness. There is withdrawal and fear of exposure, as through all differences are potentially as explosive as those between ad drug dealer and an ordinary citizen.’ p. 129
‘The essence of developing as a human being is developing the capacity for ever more complex experiences. If the experience of complexity is losing its value in the environment, we are therefore threatened “spiritually”, though the spiritual life of a modern person must unfold is an exactly opposite direction from the path taken by the early Christina who sought to become a “child of God.”‘ p. 131- 132.
The power of interpretation are not disconnected from power and money, but they are more than pure reflections or representations. p.132
‘The medieval city was conceived by its burghers as a place in which people could write their own secular laws, exert their political will, rather than be bound by inherited obligations of manor or village. These laws were as irregular and varied as the streets of the towns, often self- contradictory or unclear, enacted with little sense of anxiety about form, made for what suited the moment. Clarity remained in the realm of the divine’. The motto “Stadtluft macht frei” appeared over many city gates. p.135
In Arendt’ view people in cities fear to make contact as a lack of the will to live in the world. p.135
Goethe notes ‘that without help from many external means, one had enough substance and content in oneself, so that everything depends solely on unfolding this properly’ p. 136 or Goethe, Dichtung und Wahrheit, Mainz, Beuter Verlag, p. 664
Lavater understood Goethe that there is no destiny or true human nature. There is only struggle from freedom in here and now, or a radical struggle for freedom in the outside. p. 136
‘Transcending identities should make us look at others on the street in a new way’ p. 137
‘Hannah Arendt and James Baldwin represent two people of response to indifference. At one pole the subjective world is shunted aside so that people can speak to each other directly, resolutely, politically. At the other pole subjective life undergoes a transformation so that a person turns outward, is aroused by the presence of strangers and arouses them. That transformation requires the mobilizing of certain artistic energies in everyday life.‘ p. 149
‘The power that marks a society as modern seem to have everything to do with people seizing control over the physical world through inventions.’ p. 151
‘The modern urban analogue between invention and discovery might seem to appear in the contrast between carefully designed streets and streets with no one author’ p.151
‘The power of discovering something unexpected to the eye gives them their value. Such streets are prized, we commonly say, as being full of life, in a way that traffic arteries, for all their rushing vehicular motion, are not.’ p. 151- 152
“Street life” is a symbol of urban provocation and arouse, provocation that comes in large parts from experiences of the unexpected.’ p. 152
Critique of Kevin Lynch’s legible streets: his streets are ‘streetscapes, places that are all about fixed identities of race or class or usage. But no form made apparent on the street leads to the equal and opposite evil, the grid experience of neutrality. How then to invent a form which provokes discovery? How to link invention and discovery?’ p. 152
Thought: Could play lead to discovery and transcend the mind at the same time. We need to define where design sits inside or outside.
The centre was during the sixteenth and early-seventeenth- century for the planners charged with importance, where people could move to and discover something. p.153
Perspectives and other elements drawing people to places and move them around. For example Rome with their arches and Obelisks. (designed by Pope Sixtus V’s). People seem to walk into horizon lines.
‘The reason lay in the trip of the obelisk: it creates a point in space.’ p. 153
‘All the things in a perspectival space can change their appearance by the draftsman’s manipulation of points and planes external to them.’p. 155
‘Perspectival vision transforms an object into a consequence of how it is seen.’ p. 155
‘The art historian Svetlana Alpers distinguished between perspectives that establish “I see the world” and perspectives that establish that “the world is being seen”. A famous instance of “I see the world” is Titian’s Venus of Urbino. p. 156
The spanish steps in Rome is an example where the experience contrasts the intended function. Instead of overlooking the city from one vantage point, the eye wonders between tunnel experience of the streets, the space with an obelisk and fountain in the middle. p. 158
‘coherence’ that encompasses restless movement for the eye through urban design. p. 158
‘Nietzsche called such nonposessive, exploratory perceptions “perspectivism”‘ p.158
‘Anti-humanism’ as used by Arendt, Satre, and their heirs, is a word one would do well to ponder. For the humanists of the historical Renaissance set the example for a visual provocation lacking in much modern urban planning…. The eye which perceived limits, incompleteness, otherness was engaged in the ocular experience of tragedy.’ p. 161
‘The urbanism of Sixtus V show how a concrete object like the obelisk can be used to create a restless, problematic space. It is a space of discovery, of exploration.’ p. 162-163
Thought: Why do spaces as Times square work –> the eye is not in control.
‘the experience of the street establishes human limits’ p.167
‘The humanism of Sixtus V, Serlio, Palladio and Scamozzi was enacted by design’ compared to a linear street in New York. Sennett suggests further ‘the street is indubitably full of life, but it is life bent on survival; it’s exchange, curbs, and negotiations occur without much reflection.’ p. 167
Sennett concludes: ‘Today, the principle of disrupted linear sequence, the street of overlayed differences, is an elusive reality in urban design.’ Further he notes that ‘the invention which designers are seeking, in order to prompt the discovery of others on a street, has something to do with time. Sigfried Giedion argued the experience of time could be designed architecturally and urbanistically- this experience was to him about free and coherent movement..Sennett responses by ‘if overlays of difference are the necessary condition for enacting a sense of connection between people on the street, is the subversion of coherent time a sufficient, complementary condition? And is it precisely this subversion of coherent time which a designer could draw?’ p. 168
Ist die Gefährdung der verbundenheit von Strasse und zeit genug der Strasse als Erfahrungsraum zu sehen? – Sollte der Designer sich diese Gefährdung nicht zu nutze machen und der Strasse in einen Erfahrungsraum zu verwandeln.
Carl Schorske ‘In the cold, traffic swept modern city of the slide-rule and the slum, the picturesque comforting square can reawaken memories of the vanished burgher past. This spatially dramatic memory will inspire us to create a better future, free of philistinism and utilitarianism.’ p. 176 –> Schorske, C. (1981) Fin-de-siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. New York. Knopf. p. 72
‘In the tasteful glass-and-steel tower with its simple furniture carefully placed, we experience an emptiness that does not duplicate the experience of the Renaissance planners, for whom clearing way was a positive act of making- room- for in the midset of the clamor and mess of the squares and markets.’ p. 180
Clock-time came to be complemented by grid-space. This space/time relationship is anything but the beneficent conjunction Sigfried Giedion imagined. Rather than surprising discoveries, the clock seemed to offer its users only monotony.’ p. 180
in the context of modernity: ‘it is always an illusion to think broader changes in values have dates, the history of the cannon culminating in this invasion is the closest we can come to locating the birth of the modern sense of spontaneity. Spontaneous is dangerous; in the moment of spontaneity, eruption occurs.’ p. 183
Less conflicted spaces are less active and the social centre becomes the edge. p. 197
Should we design for conflicted spaces as interaction intensifies life.
‘The planner of a modern, humane city will overlay differences rather than segment them’ p. 202
‘Displacement rather than linearity is a human prescription.’ p. 202
‘It is this deity, rather than the Christian god of suffering, whom we need to inscribe in the spaces of the city.’ p. 252
Play it is…