Week 12 2017

After several disruptive weeks – pushing child friendly cities and play in media and at events I am back on the PhD research.

The feedback form the Assessor was to use Stevens work as a basis rather than Lefebvre. This led to an revised PhD proposal and contemplation about new research questions.

Project Proposal can be accessed here: PhD Proposal 23 March2017

Maciocco, G. & Tagliagambe, S. (2009). People and Space, New Forms of Interaction in the City Project. Urban and Landscape Perspectives 5; Springer. doi 10.1007/978-1-4020-9879-6_1

The City Project: intermediate Space and Symbol (p.164)

“The loss of the differential quality the city has suffered in its drift towards the “generic city”, a phenomenon of reduction of diversity, standardisation of life and the space produced by shopping, which has become “a primary way of urban life”, “the apotheosis of modernisation” (Chung 2001), the foolish outlet of the doctrine of form (of the city) that follows the (consumer) function in the same way throughout the world, the “unexpected revenge of functionalism” (Chung, 2001).

Chung C. J., Inaba J., Koolhaas R., Tsung Leong S. (2001) Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping, Taschen, Cologne.

Linked to the “generic city” is the process of “thematisation” of the city, the transformation of the city as a theme-park, an experience of places that is also the model of the place of pleasure (Jacobs 1998), a model that requires a glance turning everything into a show, that tends to blend in with its surroundings (Caillois, 1984) and that produces an absence of reference point, like the space of a labyrinth, spectacular and supervised, making the contemporary city uniform (Bataille 1970). But it is a desired labyrinth, that represents a complete mosaic of different types of landscape that make up, indeed, the “dark object of desire” of society (Vos and Meekes 1999).

Bataille G. (1970). Le labyrinthe. In: Bataille G. (ed) Oeuvres complètes, Gallimard, Paris. Caillois R. (1984). Mimicry and legendary. Psychastenia, October n 31.
Vos W., Meekes H. (1999) Trends in European cultural landscape development: perspectives for a sustainable future. Landscape and Urban Planning 46 (1-3).

The representations, images, our society creates for itself of landscapes as “desired products” express detachment from reality. In this detachment between reality and representation lies the contemporary incapacity to “represent” the city , to “see it”. What is projected in images aberrant to the point of losing their reference point is nothing more, probably, than the loss of the reference point as such, a loss affecting language, the same loss that affects the inhabitant when he tries to imagine the city (Soutif, 1994). If we do not go to meet the real, in the lived in space, unsettling pairs of opposites like real city/simulacrum city and citizen/non- citizen (de Azua 2003) will become established, where the figure of the “non-citizen” will correspond to the loss of the urban collective conscience and, with it, the loss of the city as a conceptual unit.

Soutif D. (1994) Topes et Tropes Le plan de Ville et la Référence. In: Dethier J., Guiheux A. (eds) La ville Art et architecture en Europe 1870- 1993, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

de Azua F. (2003) La necessidad y el deseo. Sileno nn. 14-15, pp. 13-21

“The space of the mind that gradually develops as the subject understands, in his acting and often after he has acted, the sense of this actions and those of others and that, in this sense, opens up to the world of relations that feeds the collective conscience.” (p.165)

–> Is the post capitalist city a place where symbols are exchanged? “The expressive strength of the symbol is essential for collective gaining of awareness of the elements that preside over our spatial life. ” (p.165)

The symbol represents,  always, “something else”, it refers to something different and never uncodifiable. (p.166)

“A symbol can be understood as a “bridge cast” between the universe of visible phenomena and the invisible, between reality and possible worlds.” (p. 167) –> play is a possibility and create opportunities for reaching out to a different world!

“The active, collective glance at the city makes us feel we belong to a whole, it reveals to us the contemporary public space.” p.13

Brodsky J. (1995) On Grief and Reason: Essays, Farrar straus Giroux, New York.

“The more substantial an individual’s aesthetic experience is, the sounder his taste, the sharper his moral focus, the freer- though not necessarily the happier- he is (Brodsky 1995, pp. 49-50).

Week 4 2017

Further on literature:

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

questions about the desired lifestyles and activities:
‘street life. Children wanting to play, and people talking, sitting, strolling, jogging, cycling, gardening, or working at home on auto maintenance are all vulnerable to interruption.’ p. 35

Perceived intrusion and the disruption of behaviour
‘Danger and Accidents. Traffic is in itself dangerous. Most children are killed or injured on a street near their homes. It can create the fear of danger, especially for parents of small children.
Nuisance- noise, vibration, air pollution, glare. Perceptions of the nuisances vary when inside and outside dwellings. Their perceived effects may be accompanied by hidden health effects.
Appearance and Maintenance. Pride in the appearance of the street and awareness of it as a liveable environment can be affected by the visual impacts of traffic and its emissions, and by the presence of trees, vegetation, and other amenities. Street maintenance and neighbours upkeep play a significant role in the street’s appearance.

Impacts on street life. Traffic can suppress children’s street play, adult conversation, sitting out, gardening, and other street activities.’ p. 35

‘adaptive behavior. Unpleasant environments can force people to change their living patterns. They move to the back of the house, forbid their children to play in the street, even sleep in the daytime.

the street as a sanctuary (clean, quite, maintained, attractive, safe), child-rearing, accessibility, and neighbourhood identity. (Ben Elia, 1979) (p. 53)

Appleyards study found in relation to values that social qualities were generally ranked low. He reasoned along the following comment ‘it is almost impossible to predict what the neighbors will be like when choosing a street to live in’. (p. 51) Although having ‘interesting people and activities on the street, a quality popularized by Jane Jacobs,

‘Danger for children disturbed over 50 percent of the residents even on light streets, rising up to 80 percent on heavy streets.’ p.57

‘Careless and speeding vehicles were nearly as much of a problem on light streets, where 57 percent expressed annoyance at them.’ p. 57

Noise is the primary disturber of indoor activities. p.62

Vulnerable groups

‘In the more densely populated older central areas of our cities there is often little nearby relatively sheltered play space for children. Back yards may be minimal, if they exist at all, and are used for the storage of many things, often bulky and sometimes dangerous. There is frequently little space between the dwelling and the street, save a fairly narrow sidewalk, on which children may gather and play. Parks are often distant and may be physically more dangerous to children than the local street itself.  Furthermore, the activity level on the street and sidewalks may stimulate the children and thus lead to a preference for this area as a location for gathering and play. Children cannot be expected to exercise at all times the vigilance necessary to prevent traffic accidents, nor can they be constantly monitored by more responsible older people in order to avoid accidents (Sandels, 1975).’ p. 125

Problems of play on heavily traveled streets, there are the dangers incurred in travel to school and short local trips –> households with children are especially sensitive to the hazards of residential streets with heavy traffic levels. p. 125

older people may have difficulties with their sight and hearing that make them much less aware than others of the presence and speed of traffic. (Carp. 1971). p.125

  1. ‘Children have a central need for game and continuous movement, because they are  developing physically and must learn to adjust and revise previously learned movements. They love to play and engage in games all the time, often giving up one game for another quite suddenly. Their play rules up to the age of eleven or twelve are quite indeterminate and changeable: This is the reason why we meet children who show off, trying to dash across the road just before a car passes, who hop on one leg over the zebra crossing, who use the safety bars between the pavement (sidewalks) and the roadway as vaulting bars, or who stand and fight in the middle of the road.
    Children therefore find it difficult to grasp and follow rather complicated rules to which traffic conforms. They cannot predict the movements of cars, they cannot put themselves in the position of drivers, and they expect so- called “safe” places like pedestrian crossings to be safe at all times.
  2. Second, children have physiological problems. They cannot look over the tops of cars to assess situations, so they must often go into the street before seeing traffic. In 20 percent of all children’s accidents in the Skandia Report (1971), the children were obscured by parked vehicles. Their low eye-levels direct their attention to pavement level and items of interest in the road itself, making it difficult to see high road signs placed well above their vision.
  3. Children “react with their whole personality” to everything which interests them, and they therefore find it difficult or impossible to do more than one thing at a time. “For example, we have seen 6-7 year-olds who are unable to cross the road and watch out at the same time but who instead try to look first and then walk: we have seen in the same age category those who are so entirely forget the traffic around them”— (Sandels, p. 132). This place numerous limitations on children’s ability in traffic conditions. Many, for instance, prefer to cross on straight streches of road rather than at intersections because the intersections are too complicated for them to grasp.’ p. 128
  4. There are problems of instruction. Children may not understand the full sentence or terms of the adult giving them instructions. Even among eight year old’s less than half of them understood what was meant by ‘crossing the road’.Children quickly forget instructions, especially when they come impulsive.’ p.129

 

It was practice in Sweden in the 1970s to introduce methods for accidents with children. Planning of housing areas; better location of kindergartens, schools, and play grounds; safe stops for school and other buses; elimination of curbside parking; separating pedestrians from cyclist and motor traffic. p. 129

‘Children should never be required to cross a main traffic street o the way to school. If for no other reason, streets of the residential area should rigorously exclude through traffic. Another reason for routing through traffic outside the neighbourhood is to set bounds to the district, giving it a “clear identity in people’s consciousness ‘ (Perry, 1929). p. 148

Perry proposed ‘neighbourhood units’ in 1929 within which schools, local streets and parks would be protected from through traffic, which was to be confined to the periphery of the unit. p. 147

‘European cities have grown mostly from medieval origins, with small-scale, narrow, nongeometric street patterns. Later alterations and overlays form subsequent periods have emphasised arterials, which often cut through older quaters.’ Since Hausman’s Paris, many of these have been long, straight boulevards. The narrower, frequently disconnected street patterns were for local traffic. p. 151

environmental capacity has three factors.

  1. Streets with over 50 percent vulnerable pedestrians (old, young, mothers with prams).
  2. Streets with 25 percent to 50 percent vulnerable pedestrians.
  3. Streets with less than 25 percent vulnerable pedestrians. p. 153

‘Physical conditions need to offer different level of protections, depending on “visibility for drivers, fewer parked pedestrian access to dwellings, etc.” Hence streets could be classified as offering high, medium, and low levels of protection.’ p.153

Safety, comfort, convenience, appearance,

general level of pedestrian activity, especially the numbers of children. All of them were used to calculate an environmental score for an area.

Environmental quality of a street was determined by traffic volume, width of street, vulnerability, and physical levels of protection. p. 153

First environmental areas: Barnsbury and Pimlico in the UK.

A Statement of Principles was introduced as the “Charter of Street- Dwellers’ Rights.  p. 243

  1. The street as a Safe Sanctuary. Slow speeds, cars are guests bu emergency services should be still provided. p. 243
  2. The street as a livable, healthy environment. The street should not be subject to noticeable noise or vibration from traffic. No discomfort by traffic, a place where people can sit, converse and play. p.244
  3. The street as a community. local celebrations, optimal size is debateable but should be the street block itself. p. 244
  4. The street as neighborly Territory. respecting private domain is symbolic. maintain their street, tree planting, flowers and other amenities.
  5. The street as a place for play and learning. Places which are diverse in character, with different kinds of surfaces, adequate space to play all the street games children like to engage in, places where they can hide, places where they can build things without disturbing adults. ‘Backyard can accommodate many of these activities, but in central cities the street is often the only place available. The street as a learning environment (Carr and Lynch, 1968, Lynch, 1977). On it children can learn much about nature, through plants and trees, the sun and the wind, and through exposure to the earth itself. They can learn about social life if there are people on the street whom they can safely meet. Learning about this larger city depends on their freedom to roam safely in their neighbourhood.’ p. 244
  6. The street as a green and pleasant land. “Greening the street” sympbols of the cycle of life.
  7. The street as unique historic place. people take pride in places that have a special identity. ‘This identity may be due to some unique qualities such as views, a small creek, an old tree, gardens or buildings. Residential streets should be destinations, not routes.’ p. 244.

Woonerf concept:
‘ 1. The sharing of the street space between vehicles and pedestrians. To this end curb distinctions between the sidewalks and street pavement are eliminated.
2. Conveying the impression that the whole street space is usable by pedestrians. To this end abrupt changes in path direction, vertical features, surface changes, and plantings and street furniture are all designed as obstacles to vehicle travel and to create a residential atmosphere.’ p. 250

The real power of the ‘woonerf’ concept lies in the traffic rules and clear signage.

a) the street is for people playing on road is permitted and encouraged.
b) cars may not drive faster than a walking pace.
c) drivers may not impede pedestrians within a “woonerf”
d) pedestrians may not unneccessarily hinder the progress of drivers. p.251

 

 

Literature to get:

Great streets by Jacobs, Allan B, 1995, Paperback ed. Book:

 

 

 

Week 46: 27th- 30th December 2016

If play originates from a temporary situational joyful and socially inclusive sensational experience and situations are just products of what we are, how is it that there is so few public places truly socially inclusive designed.

Situation- a set of circumstances in which one finds oneself; a state of affairs. Or the location and surroundings of a place.

Spontaneous-  performed or occurring as a result of a sudden impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.

Play – engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

 

Play origin

Old English:

plegain – to exercise

plega –brisk movement

 

Middle dutch:

Pleien- leap for joy, dance

 

Theoretical thinking

Hypothesis:

Further thinking on spaces based on the reading of Lefebvre’s “Production of space”. Aim of this exercise is to create a response to the assessors feedback.

Energy needs to be wasted. Energy is not constant.

Energy produces space, too much space speeds up the process until disconnection is reached. The process implodes and creates a new opportunity through rebirth.

Hypothesis:

We create in our minds spaces (representational space). These spaces can be transformed through energy into symbols reaching out beyond the individual identity. Symbols can be transformed into action. These actions have effects on objects in space. Through a surplus of energy we can modify these objects. This process of producing these spaces can be described as ‘lived space’ (Lefebvre,p. 236) as it embodies both spaces (mentally and physically) and has a strictly symbolic existence. The results of the produced spaces effect other identities adding further energy and shared interpretation of objects. This shared interpretation in conjunction with actions in space can be called co-production of space. This co- production can just occur as long there is a surplus of energy available. Once this energy ceases, transformation occurs and changes into the space of memory. Complete is the cycle of space creation. This transformational process from co-production into the representational space, as Lefebvre referred it to, and opens up bridge to consciousness that creates the opportunity to elevate self- consciousness.

How does this relate to play?

Play lends itself as the perfect vehicle to this theory.

Lefebvre eloquently described this in his book “The production of space” and talks about a triad of spaces.

The representation of space (maps)

The representational space (memory).

The lived space (absolute space).

 

His thoughts originate from Marxist thinking about the value creation through labor,….

I agree with Lefebvre that “knowledge falls into a trap when it makes representation of space the basis for the study of ‘life’ for is doing so it reduces the lived experience”.  There is a great need to verify and test a priori against a posteriori (empirical evidence research approach. As Kant outlined the nature of a priori as transcendental and enables a better understanding of different forms of all possible experiences. I believe that both need to work with each other. A priori can be understood as a guiding light asking to be contested and verified by the a posteriori approach.

Hypothesis:

Urban Designers should strive to understand all three dimension of spaces if we want to create healthier environments for people. Play can be one of the vehicle to understand the interplay and harness indicators that create a fertile ground for carefully inserted changes in space enabling further playful experiences.

Conclusion:

With that in mind, the study of play supports the notion for this research project to collect data in a posteriori manner and use abductive reasoning, to find the logical inference from observation to the most likely explanation (theory).

Play in the street

 

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.

playmodel.jpg

 Supervisor meeting 21st December 2016

Notes:

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,

Literature:

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 44: 12th- 16th December 2016

In a philosophical conversation with Mo over the weekend – he made me aware of the philosophy of signs. On the basis that this research project is looking into physical traces in the built environment I’ve looked a bit further into it and found the following useful:

Culler, J. (2001). The Pursuit of Signs. Routledge, London and New York.

Foucault, M. (1966). Les Mots et le choses. Paris, Gallimard, p.15

Structuralist and semiotic thinking has been repeatedly labelled ‘antihumanistic’, and Michel Foucault has provided a target for such attacks in maintaining that ‘man is only a recent invention, a figure not yet two centuries old, a simple fold in our knowledge’ which will soon disappear. Michel Foucault, Les Mots et le choses, Paris, Gallimard, 1966, p.15 in P. 36 in Culler J. (2001) The Pursuit of Signs, Routledge, London and New York.

Indeed, we often think of the meaning of an expression as what the subject or speaker ‘has in mind’. But as meaning is explained in terms of systems of signs- systems which the subject does not control- the subject is deprived of his role as a source of meaning. P. 36-37 in Culler J. (2001) The Pursuit of Signs, Routledge, London and New York.

Meanings cannot be imposed unless they are understood, unless the conventions which make possible understanding are already in place. P. 44 in Culler J. (2001) The Pursuit of Signs, Routledge, London and New York.

Jacques Derrida calls the ‘logocentrism’ of Western culture: the rationality which treats meanings as concepts or logical representations that it is the function of signs to express. We speak, for example, of various ways of saying ‘the same thing’ p. 44 in Culler J. (2001) The Pursuit of Signs, Routledge, London and New York.

The pursuit of semiotics leads to an awareness of its limits, to an awareness that signification can never be mastered by a coherent and comprehensive theory, should not be reason for spurning its analytical programs as if there were some more valid or comprehensive perspective on signification. P.47-48. in Culler J. (2001) The Pursuit of Signs, Routledge, London and New York.

The institution of literature involves interpretive practices, techniques for making sense of literary works, which it ought to be possible to describe. Instead of attempting to legislate solutions to interpretive disagreements, one might attempt to analyse the interpretive operations that produce these disagreements- discord which is part of the literary activity of our culture. P. 52 in Culler J. (2001) The Pursuit of Signs, Routledge, London and New York.

–> aegis of semiotics that seeks to identify the conventions and operations by which any signifying practice (literature) produces its observable effect of meaning.

One should seek ways to analyse the work as an objective artefact. P. 53 in Culler J. (2001) The Pursuit of Signs, Routledge, London and New York.

Semiotic program may be better expressed by Karl Popper –> he talks about artifacts

 Why is Lefebvres “Right to the city” today relevant?

  • Back when he wrote about the concept at the end of the 1960’s the western world was dominated by a power imbalance. Government were heavily involved in top-down planning programs, which led to suppression of the option of the masses. Capital through developers rolled out mass housing projects. This neoliberal modernism was critiqued by him.
  • Today the landscape has changed, many government have insufficient funds in order to operate well. The private sector enjoy due to favorable political environments unprecedented power in decision making processes. One may argue we are living in an environment were the capital has gone on steroids- modernism reloaded. Within the city context large scale urban renewal projects being quickly rolled out and meaningful engagement often takes place on a tokenistic level. As a consequence people feel disempowered and overruled. The city vision is not shared resulting in conflicts.
  • I’d like to conclude that Lefebvres concept of “Right to the city” is today even more important than ever before.

 

Refining the play definition and categories

I’ve tried now to verify my classifications of play in relation to the definition by superimposing the findings from the pilot phase.

By doing so I came to the conclusion that not all activities observed are covered by all elements of play in the definition. Although I would classify them as playful as they are in line with Callouis classifications, there must be some level of what must be met and what is an option.

Point of origin

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.

New amended version

Play is an voluntary intrinsic induced activity (or with a degree of extrinsic motivation), that constitutes freedom through enjoyment, based on the acceptance of risk in its temporary transformational nature. Associated attributes such as spontaneity, curiosity, creative processes and purposeless can support this activity as it situated outside of the ordinary. This activity is necessary to the human identity as an exploratory pursuit of enjoyment outside of social purpose.

For orientation purpose

Playful interaction (definition in Tieben, R., Sturm, J., Bekker, T., Schouten, B. (2014). Playful persuasion: Designing for ambient playful interactions in public spaces. Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments 6, 341-357, DOI 10.3233/AIS-140265, IOS Press.):
Interacting in a playful way in order to elicit explorative, social and enjoyable behaviour. (from Bekker, M.M., Sturm, J., Eggen, J.H. (2010) Designing playful interactions for social interactions and physical play. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 14(5), 285-296.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Intrinsic motivation refers to doing an activity for the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself, while extrinsic motivation refers to the performing of an activity in order to attain some separable outcome. (from Ryan, R.M., Deci, E.L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist. 55, 68-78.)

Theories such as self-determination theory are helpful in gaining a better understanding of the influences of such types.

Theoretical thought:

The more people play the higher the production function of a space!

Human rights and healthy environments paper (Kruger, T.M., Savage C.E., Newsham, P. (2015). Intergenerational Efforts to Develop a Healthy Environment for Everyone: Sustainability as a Human Rights Issue, The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, Vol 80(1), 27-40, DOI: 10.1177/0091415015591108

by using the framework of human rights to advocate for policies and practices that protect older adults and promote high quality of life in that segment of the population, efforts can and should include attention to the natural environment and sustainability effort. p.29-30.

Morgan and David’s work from 2002 has been referenced as a useful overview on human rights documents. Two articles were identified as relevant to promote quality of life for older adults (article 25.1, article 27.1)

‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being of himself (sic) and of his (sic) family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or the lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his (sic) control.’ (Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948, article 25.1)

‘Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits’. (UDHR, 1948, article 27.1)

‘Older adults might have skills that younger generation lack (e.g. gardening).’ p. 36

‘Researchers should develop interventions that target multiple generations for sustainable behavior increases; these interventions should also be investigated using the lens of human rights.’ p. 36

 

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

Tuesday:

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.

Wednesday:

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)

revised-introduction

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

 

Task:

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 38: 31st Oct- 4 November 2016

Week 37 was predominately used to catch up with work and get up to speed after the conference in Quito, Ecuador.

I’ve learned at the conference that in particular my preliminary research had already an impact in cities (city of Gervais in Oregon, USA) through our Perspective Statement on Right to the City: 2016-10-08-gervais-planning-and-design-document

–> this proofs that the play research in already useful in a applied context, even before finalised.

Highlights of this week:

  • confirmation of my paper presentation at the American Association of Geographers Conference in Boston, in April 2016. Given my co session presenters have a focus on emotion in urban spaces, I was urged to change my abstract. (see under the Link)
  • Still waiting to hear back from the IPA conference (paper abstract submission here)
  • Received feedback on funding proposal for DAAD/ Universities Australia –> unsuccessful. Need to investigate new ways to fund the research trips.
  • preparation of my presentation for the Play Symposium in Canberra on the 10th November. Focus on play in cities and not just for children. Presentation can be accessed here: play-symposium-uc-greg-mews
  • Received the kind invitation to present my PhD research at TEDx in Wellington as part of the city partnership with TEDx Canberra. 13- 16 November 2016.
  • Preparation of my presentation for my confirmation seminar. The meeting with Andrew was very constructive. I need to focus on structure that works for broader audience, but also caters to the needs of the academics.