Week 16: 30th May -3rd June 2016

Two days of drafting the research proposal passed.

On Monday uploaded the document onto Moodle and undertook a urkund check. Awaiting the results, if there are any…

Revisited the creative research literature in order to verify option for creative output. Currently I tend toward a book for the following reasons:

  • more permanent (output) –> what do I want to get out of the PhD.
  • easier to distribute through different countries where I will undertake research.
  • a book can better inform policy over a longer period in time.
  • equally labour intense than a exhibition
  • challenge to find an appropriate publisher and someone who covers the print cost for the first edition.

–> Addtional option to link book to an online exhibition (videos, photos etc.) hosted by USG.

Ideas for the design of the creative output

Zardini, M. (2005). Sense of the City: an alternate approach to urbanism. Montréal Lars Müller Publishers.

PhD proposal

The PhD proposal can be accessed here: PhD Proposal 



Week 7: 28th- 1st April 216

Thoughts based on Lynch Method (Image of the city), cognitive mapping and different cultures in comparison.

Halseth, G. & Doddridge, J (2000) Children’s cognitive mapping: a potential tool for neighbourhood planning. Environment and planning B: Planning and Design 2000, volume 27, pages 565-582


Notes from creative research methods session 29/03/16 with Tim:

  1. Tips and tricks around writing

25 minutes –> block writing without interference (four intervals)

Pomodoro Technique

shut up and write sessions (setting aside this time)

byword or mark down program (plain text with a series of convention)

Other programs:  Zotero, Databasic.io, Voyant (see through your text)


Creative research practice session 29/03/16 with Lisa:

Creative Labour Studies presentation by Scott Brook

  • critique on mentoring labour as part of the Enlighting festival
  • “Funemployed” book by Justin Heazlewood
  •  Work exploitation
  • Critique of the creative policies across western countries
  • Issues of scope of “Labour market”
  • Creative thinking –> starts with play!
  • knowledge economy –> touch on the idea of what will the new Australian economy look like.
  • rise of the consumer society –> in order to provide an experience
  • massification of higher education
  • mass communication
  • digital economy –> cultural content consumers

Creativity is a new work ethic. Entrepreneurial, risk taking work identities, workers who can forge secure employment and social security.


  1. Labour is love (norm of what you do)
  2. Bad Gamblers model (artists are rational actors with poor information about their changes on the labour market)
  3. Psychic income (soul food, autonomy) –> symbolic capital

Spiritual boundary between capitalism and art –> art is something else

art as labour is Leidenschaft

The artistic critique of work (Boltanski and Chiapello (2010) The New Spirit of Capitalism, p. 38).

Reflection on supervisor meeting on 30/03/16

Theoretical understanding of the city.

–> intro journey

–> lead to definitions

  •  that will lead into the questions
  •  use Lynch as a method
  •  Case study either a city! 20 cases
  • Develop a theory and tested it on the studies –> Create a new theory
  •  Explore theories around play and city –> bring them together!!!
  • What exist out there for planners?
  • Creative clusters (Florida’s)



Reflection on my road finding these questions!

Stress, economics, conception,….

Theoretical play and cities!


Framework –> Stay on theoretical level a little longer

Cross cultural research –> read the cultural cities reader


Starting the ethics process

Every 6 week (lead time)

Describe my research “urban design, culture, city and play“


In search for theories on cities and play


What is a city?

Engineer sees it as a problem of circulation

Planner sees it as order and disorder

Novelist sees it as an accumulation of interconnected stories enabling a collective meaningful memory.


Canon Barnet “the city of interactions”

“They forget that the highest possible life for men may be a city life, and that the prophets foresaw, not a paradise or a garden, but a city with its streets and its markets, its manifold interests and human life…We have our neigbhours in a city, not the trees and the beasts but fellow human beings. We can from them learn greater lessons, and with them do greater deeds. We can become more human. (Canon S.A. Barnett, The Ideal City, ed. H.E. Meller, Leicester, Leicester University Press, (1893-4), 1975, p.55)

Feelings were a fundamental method for Jacobs, when she described the informality of city living. City form and space should provide more than narrowly defined optimal solutions to certain problems such as the disruption of people, traffic and amenities.

Meaning of dwelling from Heidegger (state of being, ontological approach): His observation that dwellings and buildings are related as end and means. Further he notes that all man’s subversion of this relation of dominance drives his essential being into alienation. Heidegger notes, that “amongst all the appeals that we human beings, on our part, can help to be voiced, language is the highest and everywhere the first.” (Building, Dwelling, Thinking, p.348)

My notes: I’d like to add that spaces in between, meaning publicly accessible, are a mean but not an end. They offer a pathway out of alienation as they are the spaces where people as part of their everyday life experience can meet and exchange. Modern communication has only been able to accomplish that in a one to one stream or one way communication through broadcasting on TV or through videos.

Georg Simmel argued in his classical essay “Metropolis and Mental Life” (1903) a distinctive culture but rather the dominance of money in modern society. Money is inherently instrumental and consequently modern society is intellectual, instrumental, blasé and reserved. (page 9, The cultural city reader). Further he argues that intellectuality is a defensive response against the sensory overload characteristic of the modern urban experience. –> If we are unable to change the current environment, all we can do is accept it and change our own perspective. Playful interaction might offer a pathway.

Lewis Mumford worked in the space of cities, human culture and personality. He outlined some fundamentals between planning cities and urban life. Jane Jacobs as well as Don Appleyard acknowledged theatricality of diversity.


What is a city-depends on who you are!

Simmel argues that there is an intrinsic connection between money economy and the dominance of the intellect. (“the Metropolis and mental life” in The Sociology of Georg Simmel (1950) 1903)

Cities are wicket systems, complex, messy and constantly moving. In order to achieve the better outcomes for individuals health and well-being, one must focus on their own activities and engage playfully in every day life. The more each dweller engages in good practice of social play that fosters play with each rather than against each other, the city as a collective.

meaningful memory can transform to a higher consciousness resulting in a true understanding what it means to be human.

If mobility reflects the plus of a city why do we want to be superfast? A balanced overall natural speed on slow speed we can engage in more experiences. Hence are able to interact playfully with the environment.

Stimulation induces a response of the person to those objects in his environment which afford expression for his wishes. Stimulation is essential for growth. Ernest W. Burgess (The growth of the city) 1925

Lewis Mumford outlined in his essay “What is the city” (1937) the following: “The essential physical means of a city’s existence are the fixed site, the durable shelter, the permanent facilities for assembly, interchange, and storage; the essential social means are social division of labor, which serves not merely the economic life but the cultural process. The city in its complete sense, then, is a geographical plexus, an economic organisation, an institutional process, a theater of social action, and an aesthetic symbol of collective unity. The city fosters art and is art; the city creates the theater and is the theater. It is in the city, the city as theater, that man’s more purposive activities are focused, and work out, through conflicting and cooperating personalities, events, groups, into more significant culminations.” Further he notes “the city creates dram, the suburb lacks it.”

One of Mumfords conclusion is that social facts are the primary concept of the city and the physical organisation including its industry, markets, lines of communication and traffic, must be subservient to its social needs. He refers to it as the social nucleus. (p.29-30 in CR)

Interestingly he mentioned that schools, libraries, theaters, community centers are the first task in defining neighbourhood and laying down the fundamentals of a integrated city.

I’d like to note that, theater is a form of play. Theater requires an interplay of different actors and therefore fair play by all that chose to engage in it. By moving to a city people voluntarily accept playing along. However the dark side of play requires further elaboration.

culture: meaning the collective values of a social group as expressed in the habits and expression of everyday lives.

The study of physical manifestation of play culture across cities.

What is the current understanding and status of play culture in cities as part of peoples everyday life experience? What places are important for play in cities? How do playful spaces and places feel like? What is spatial role of play in cities? Under what planning paradigm does play in the city fits? How can cities become places where play is recognised as a defining feature?   

Potential title: Play and the City: the environment, culture and the daily urban life.

Guy Debord (1983) Separation Perfected” from Society of the Spectacle, (Point 19  cited in CR p. 85) “The spectacle does not realize philosophy, it philosophizes reality. The concrete life of everyone has been degraded into a speculative universe.”

Point 33 “Separated from his product, man himself produces all the details of his world with ever increasing power, and thus find himself ever more separated from his world. The more his life is now his product, the more he is separated from his life.” (CR, p. 87)

Point 34 concludes “The spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image.” (CR, p.87)

Pierre Bourdieu idea of cultural goods and symbolic value (The Production of Belief: Contribution to an Economy of Symbolic Goods” from  The Field of Cultural Production, 1993) in CR p.100

Tim Hall argues that the role of public art in the rejuvenation of urban space and marketing of a city. (Opening Up Public Art’s Spaces: Art, Regeneration and Audience, 2003) in CR p.100

Further Savage and Warde in Hall,2003 in CR p.113): “Lefebvre’s laudable project to find a bridge between experienced space, representation of space, and space of representation has proved too hard to put into operation empirically. The crucial link between the construction of place in representation and at the level of everyday experience has not been demonstrated.(1993:132) –> I argue that empirical analysis is just one of many ways to provide evidence of a link. Creative research offers the opportunity to revisit this approach and apply methods in the constructivist epistomology space.
(Savage, M. and Ward, A. (1993) Urban Sociology: Capitalism and Modernity, Macmillan, London.)

In the context of public art and consumer city space:
Contemporary architectural geographies do not emphasis enough the fact that ‘urban meaning is not immanent to architectural form and space, but changes according to the social interaction of city dwellers’. (Loretta Lees 2001:55 Hall in CR, p.114)
Lees L.(2001) Towards a critical geography of architecture: the case of an ersatz colosseum’ Ecumene 8,1, 51-86.

Touch on social justice in combination with human right –> based on Lefebvre’s work on “Right to the city”?? Play as a vision in urban social justice? The work of David Harvey “Social Justice and the City” as well as Manuel Castells work “The Urban Question” provide the basis for economy tradition of urban analysis (Susan Fainstein, “Justice, Politics, and the Creation of Urban Space” from Andrew Merrifield and Erik Swyngedouw (eds), The Urbanization of Injustice, 1996, cited in CR, p.142)

Simmel argues, even after the introduction of of socialism, individuals would continue to express ‘their utterly inevitable passsion of greed and envy, of domination and feeling of oppression, on the slight differences in social position that have remained…” (Kurt H. Wolff (1950) The Sociology of Georg Simmel, ed, Free Press, New York, 1950, p. 75)
Ralf Dahrendorf argues in the same way with regards to the hierarchy of power and social difference. “Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1959. –> I am not sure if analysis of Power is the way to go!!!

Foucault –> Who holds the power!

Mendeley session on 01/04/16


Week 4: 7th March – 11th March 2016

Over the weekend I have been contemplating about creative research methods and my approach reflecting on course content as well as on Norman Blaikies suggestions in “Approaches to Social Enquiry” from 2007.

After doing more literature research in the space of child friendly design, creative research tool with children, behaviour change on sustainability issues, as well as health and play I felt to revisit the original hypothesis and come up with a few new once.

  • How should we design contemporary neighbourhoods so that they are supportive of independent child play?
  • What are the impacts of adult culture on active play in contemporary urban environments and how should designer respond in order to enable better health outcomes.
  • What are the key barriers to active child play in neighbourhoods across different urban adult cultures and what design responses can facilitate better health outcomes?

With respect to creative research method and practice I found the following memo useful:

Exhibition as a tool aiming to establish a public conversation by consulting the local public about several specific issues and outline some in progress, results and hypothesis. Penin Lara (2013) in: Crocker, R. & Lehmann, S. (2013)  Motivating Change: Sustainable design and behaviour  in the built environment, p. 244


Selection of children video/ photo/ film their neighbourhood –> empowerment

Interview of adults

Analyse benefits of object/ place/ event relation

Hoping to find clues in relation to danger and perceived danger (is there a fear or no fear culture) that can be used to change adult behaviour.

Link to research

Amplify by Design films reveal the power of personal narratives on the subject of play. Check: http://www.amplifyingcreativecommunities.net/#p2a

Monday afternoon: I will attend How to write a Lit Review session.

Potential method for exhibition and footing use in creative research through practice:



Week 3: 29th Feb to 4th March 2016

Activities attended:

  • Creative Research unit on practice led and practice based methods
  • UC support on setting up your blog for HDRs
  • Research Design session on qualitative data analysis (25th Feb)

Construction of Meaning

Having the right theory to guide my research is important throughout the entire process. Needs to be critical reviewed, as different theories may be supportive at different stages of the journey.

Bottom up approach useful for qualitative inquiries.

Different Memo types:

  • Method design
  • Reflective
  • Analytic

Literature notes

Always write short but precise definition. Give care and get it done early as misunderstandings can easily occur when working interdisciplinary.

Conceptional mapping is another tool for data assessment.

Mind maps on epistemological approach:



Cognitive spatial mapping graphic:


Jay Appleton, Landscape preference

Familiarity in play as an outcome of exploration. Focus on “what can I do with this?” With increasing familiarity, the mental entities become manipulable. However familiarity is essential to playful rearrangement and recombination of elements towards insights and creativity.  (p.93).

Benefits of evaluation codes (p.94):

  • facilitates decision making
  • permits people to feel right now things they have not done yet
  • allow the future to colour present feelings to dominate them


Reflection and notes from supervisor meeting

new research task:

  • Norman Blaikie,  Designing social research
  • AURIN – test
  • “habitus” concept PhD Thesis from Helen Fitt
  • Yen “case study research”

General task:

Refine mind map –> test cross connections in themes (bringing together two paradigms)

Based on my theoretical and philosophical discourse around psychology may become one stream, however PhD may likely focus on perception of play and access.

Spatial mapping tool idea: MAPS Mini Tool Method  MAPS-mini tool

construction of access

  • opportunities for play
  • definitions

So far all this leads me to the question: What are the triggers (physical as well as cognitive) in enabling access to play in a neighbourhood in an intercultural case study context?

Philosophical discourse:


The word originates from „nahe“ and „Bauer“ in other words close and farmer. However, it can be also primary be understood as bordering house or apartment where people live.

In accordance to sociological theorist Ferdinand Tönnies it can also mean „Gemeinschaft des Ortes“ translating to „Collective of place“.

Modern phenomenon is: we can have a physical place of a collective, however because of modern communication technology can associate the place physically removed from reality. Hence a disengagement with the here and now. Hence a lack of social activity of adults in the local context.

Heidegger contemplates on „dwelling” from an ontological perspective. To dwell means for him to ‚belong…within the fourfold of sky and earth, mortals and divinities’ (TT p.49, BDT p. 150) p.93. Further he argues that a dwelling place is ‚near’ to one, somewhere one is ‚in the nearness’. Heidegger refers to ‚Nähe’ as neighbourhood i.e. dwelling place.

Belonging in modern times is very much a mind-set. Hölderlins highlights in „Hyperion“ the suffering if a homely society is not welcoming if one’s mind-set developed beyond physical boundaries. This disconnect can create an imbalance, despite of the search of a point of connection, while being aware of the interconnectedness of things and in fact the universal being bounded by physical law and the limitation of the biosphere of the earth system.

I believe the suffering of modern societies is that people choose to disengage with the immediate space, as modern technology, can bridge the limitation of local places. However, humans understanding of the physical world originates from a physical engagement with all five senses. If we are reducing our engagement with the real world to one or two senses, we experience a dramatic change in perception of the local neighbourhood. It is also known that children make sense of the world through play in a local context, contributing to a sense of place and the spirit of a local place. If parent disengage with them locally prevent access to sensory experiences, then an imbalance occurs and deforms the state of health of a neighbourhood. A neighbourhood where no children are playing is an indicator for an imbalance in the mind-set and therefore perception of neighbourhood.

Acknowledging that there is not just one objective truth, rather than a perceived reality constructed out of the engagement of our minds with the world. Does that mean that if people choose not to engage with the physical neighbourhood, that neighbourhood become detached from the local context creating a newly perceived reality of neighbourhood by choice? In this virtual neighbourhood that our mind-set creates humans do not necessary require all senses. Again children may suffer.

  • 3rd March Attended the free presentation at the National Gallery on ‘Embodied Museography: Animating the Archive’ by Sarah Kenderdine