Week 8+9 2017

Last week I’ve been doing more editing on the overall PhD proposal. This lead to the conclusion to decouple the introduction and work with Andrew on the refined version of the one pager.

I’ve commenced pilot fieldwork in Canberra on Friday and Saturday.

Found that I need to further revise my matrix reflecting some of the actual play activities:

One of the most compelling findings, is that of those people that displayed play behaviour the majority were listening/ consuming music.

This reflects some of  Debord work “The Society of the Spectacle”:

‘Stars of consumption, through outwardly representing different personality types, actually show each of these types enjoying an equal access to the whole realm of consumption and deriving exactly the same satisfaction therefrom. Stars of decision, meanwhile, must possess the full range of accepted human qualities; all official differences between them are thus canceled out by the official similarity which is an inescapable implication of their supposed excellence in every space.’ p. 39

‘Thus false conflicts of ancient vintage tend be resuscitated- regionalisms or racisms whose job it now is to invest vulgar rankings in the hierarchies of consumption with a magical ontological superiority. Hence too the never- ending succession of paltry contests- from competitive sports to elections- that are utterly incapable of arousing any truly playful feeling. Wherever the consumption of abundance has established itself, there is one spectacular antagonism, which is always at the forefront of the range of illusory roles: the antagonism between youth and adulthood.’  p.40

Reflection on the fieldwork pilot in Canberra

Pilot observation took place on a Saturday from 7.00 am to 3.30 pm (due to camera failure and weather change the observation concluded).

Observation remarks:

  • most people walk alone and listen to music (7 am -9 am)
  • The shared spaces have predominantly a movement function. People only stop and engage with each other on edges.
  • socially marginalised people start to populate the space (8.30 am onwards)
  • Cafes and shops open (8-9 am)
  • people use intersections for crossing only/ play happens either at the edge of or on a footpath
  • pillow sculpture focal point for playful behaviour
  • people usually sit on benches near pillow
  • people flow mostly through the middle of Garema
  • music player sets up near pillow (1 pm and stays there for the afternoon)
  • people sit on cubes
  • window shoppers stay under the awnings near the edges
  • two children play with sloped pavement surface around the trees (not too much with the coloured pavers) –> starting to use loose element from tree droppings to play with

Play behaviour assessment:

53 people – playing around
9 people – playing up on words
7 people- playing a part
6 people – playing for time
5 people – playing tricks

Critical remark: This assessment was purely based on my own interpretation of the situation. I found it uneasy to capture all activities. Therefore I questions somewhat the reliability of this part of the observation, unless one interviews the people right after the observation. Although I believe that most people are not even aware that they actually display play behaviour.

Human behaviour:

Group sizes:

Majority of people are alone. However, the proportion of people that are not alone, most of them are allocated to the group size of 2 people, followed by 4 people (mostly families), three people and rarely 5 or more.

Preferred play setting

sculpture,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 6 2017

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.

Remarks:

  • 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.

 

click here to access the revised PhD proposal

click here to access the new thesis-structure

click here to access the revised case-study-design-approach

Literature

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…

 

 

 

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 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 42: 28th November – 2nd December 2016

Work on narrowing and defining the street environment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heuristic inquiry through observation

Revisiting research question (test writing without play):

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

Test now with the amended questions from week 41:

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

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

Elements of play:

overview

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

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

Callois four categories:

Vertigo

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

Simulation

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

Chance

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

Competition

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

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

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

Consumptive street spaces

measures of elements which are examples of play:

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

Literature:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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