Week 5 2017

Literature:

Jacobs, Allen, B. (1993) Great streets. The MIT Press, Cambridge & London.

‘You go back to some streets more often than to others, and not just because the things you do or have to do are more centrered on one than another. Maybe you focus a part of your life more on one street for reasons not necessarily economic or functional. Maybe a particular street unlocks memories or offers expectations of something pleasant to be seen or the possibility of meeting someone, known or new, the possibility of an encounter.’ p.2

‘Streets are more than public utility, more than the equivalent of water lines and sewers and electric cables, which, interestingly enough, most often find their homes in streets; more than linear physical spaces that permit people and goods to get from here to there.’ p. 3

‘Communication remains a major purpose of streets, along with unfettered public access to property, and these roles have received abundant attention, particular in the latter half of the twentieth century. Other roles have not.’ p. 3

‘In a very elemental way, streets allow people to be outside. Barring private gardens, which many urban people do not have or want, or immediate access to countryside or parks, streets are what constitute the outside for many urbanities; places to be when they are not indoors. And streets are places of social and commercial encounter and exchange. People who really do not like other people, not even to see them in any numbers, have good reason not to live in cities or to live isolated from city streets. The street is movement: to watch, to pas, movement especially of people: of fleeting faces and forms, changing postures and dress….It is possible to stand in one place or to sit and watch the show…. Everyone can use the street…Knowing the rhythm of a street is to know who may be on it or at a certain place along it during a given period’ p.4

The street a place ‘to feel greeted and welcomed, to be part of something larger than oneself. As well as to see, the street is a place to be seen. Sociability is a large part of why cities exist and streets are a major if not the only public place for that socialbility to develop.’ p. 4

‘The people of cities understand the symbolic, ceremonial, social and political role of streets, not just those of movement and access.’ p. 4

‘The interplay of human activity with the physical place has an enormous amount to do with the greatness of a street.’ p. 6

Dolf Schnebli, architect, wrote: ‘A good urban street is always good in a context. Its goodness can change- if Hitler is in charge of the city, all streets are bad…To eat in a beautiful space is nice, but if the food is bad, I prefer good food to an ugly place. I prefer good food in a beautiful place. But bad service may destroy the whole thing. Therefore the best- good food, good space, good service, good company. We could go on.’ p.7

Criteria for good streets:

  1. help to make community: streets should facilitate people acting and interacting to achieve in concert what they might not achieve alone.  ‘A great street should be the most desirable place to be, to spend time, to live, to play, to work, at the same time that it markedly contributes to what a city should be. Streets are settings for activities that bring people together.’ p. 8
  2. physically comfortable and safe. He points out that ‘physical safety is another matter, and it can mean many things. One shouldn’t have to worry about being hit by a car or truck or about tripping on the pavement or about some other physical thing built into the street being unsafe. –> I believe he is talking about perceived safety.
  3. encouragement of participation. ‘ For over 15 years on the main street of Curitba, Brazil, a long, long strip of paper has been laid on the pavement every Saturday morning, held down by wooden sticks every meter or so, theereby cerating hundred of individual white paper surfaces. Children that come are offered a brush and paint, and they do pictures as parents and friends watch….Participation in the life of a street involves the ability of people who occupy buildings to add something to the street, individually or collectively, to be part of it. That contribution can take the form of signs or flowers or awnings or color, or in altering the buildings themselves. Responsibility, including maintenance, comes with participation.’ p. 9
  4. The best streets are remembered. They leave strong, long continuing positive impressions. –> a street is memorable. p.9
  5. street is representative- ‘it is the epitome of a type; it can stand for others; it is the best. p.9

Urban settings: scale of the street and block and buildings and spaces –> also the setting of peoples lives.

‘There is a magic to a great street. We are attracted to the best of them not because we have to go there, but because we want to be there. The best streets are joyful as they are utilitarian. They are entertaining and they are open to all. They permit anonymity at the same time as individual recognition. They are symbols of a community and of its history; they represent a public memory. They are places for escape and for romance, palces to act and to dream. On a great street we are allowed to dream; to remember things that may never have happened and to look forward to things that, maybe, never will.’ p. 11

Jacobs analysed streets in categories:

General
Cross section, blueprint, drawing
Buildings
Trees
Corners
Traffic, parking
sidewalk, pavement details

The eyes move. Gibson ‘In the ordinary vision of everyday life any long fixation of the eyes is rarity…It is equally rare to perceive the environment with the head motionless.. The visual field is ordinarily alive with motion.’ p. 281-2

‘Great streets require physical characteristics that help the eyes do what they want to do, must do: move. Every great street has this quality.’ p.282

Qualities that help a good street:

  • Trees
  • Beginnings and endings
  • many buildings rather than few, diversity,
  • special design features (details)
  • places
  • Accessibility
  • Density helps
  • diversity
  • length
  • Slope
  • Parking
  • Contrast
  • time

 

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Week 8: 3rd-7th April 2016

Notes from reading on philosophical background:

Why am I reading this? Because it gives me a better idea for the definitions and thinking on on cities, spaces, places, observation and new thinking in the urban design space about how cities work!

The use of sidewalks: Contact from The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) by Jane Jacobs:

The simple needs of automobiles are more easily understood and satisfied than the complex needs of cities, and a growing number of planners and designer have come to believe that if they can only solve the problem of traffic, they will thereby have solved the major problem of cities. Cities have much more intricate economic and social concerns than automobile traffic. (p.83 Urban Design Reader)

The trust of a city street is formed over time from many, many little public sidewalk contacts. It grows out of people stopping by at the bar for a beer, getting advice from the grocer and giving advice to the newsstand man…Its cultivation cannot be institutionalized. And above all, it implies no private commitments. (p.84 Urban Design Reader)

Impersonal city streets make anonymous people, and this is not a matter of aesthetic quality nor of a mystical emotional effect in architectural scale. It is a matter of what kind of tangible enterprises sidewalks, and therefore of how people use the sidewalks in practical, everyday life. p.84 Urban Design Reader)

City privacy

Privacy is precious in cities. It is indispensable. (p.85 UDR) Further Jacobs notes that ‘A good city street neighbourhood achieves a marvel of balance between its people’s determinations to have essential privacy and their simultaneous wishes for differing degrees of contact, enjoyment or from the people around them. This balance is largely made up of small, sensitively managed details, practiced and accepted so casually that they are normally taken for granted.

When an area of a city lacks a sidewalk life, the people of the place must enlarge their private lives if they are to have anything approaching equivalent contact with their neighbours. They must settle for some form of “togetherness” in which more is shared with one another than on the life of the sidewalks, or else they must settle for lack of contact. (p.87)

Lefebvre Everyday life theories

Henry Lefebvre (2004, Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life, Continuum, London, p.73) “(E)veryday life remains shot through and traversed by great cosmic and vital rhythms: day and night, the months and the seasons, and still more precisely biological rhythems … (T)his results in the perpetual interaction of these rhythms with repetitive processes linked to homogeneous time.

changing nature of everyday life time in itself. Butler points out that “Living in rhythm with biological and cyclical forms of repetition becomes more and more difficult as the everyday is subjected to relentless attempts to quantify time and increase productivity from previously non- productive parts of the day or time of the year. He describes Lefebvres observation as “commodification of social time and its transformation into a social product.” A similar claim is made with regards to space production and commodification. (Butler, 2012, p.32)

“(Q)uantified time subjects itself to a very general law of this society: it becomes both uniform and monotonous while also breaking apart and becoming fragmented.  Like space, it divides itself into lots and parcels:  transport networks, themselves fragmented, various forms of work, entertainment and leisure.” (Lefebvre,2004, Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life, Continuum, London, p. 74)

Role of festivals: social bonds were traditionally strengthened by communal participation in feasts, music, dance, sport and masquerades.(Lefebvre, 1991, Critique of Everyday Life I: Introduction, Verso; London p. 201-227’9.

Butler notes further that festivals are the way of celebrating regular and cyclical rhythms of nature with which human life is intertwined.

Lefebvres work Production of space reinforces the perceived fragmentation of the mental, physical and social field. –> strongest critique of both positivist models and the idealist currents in french poststructuralism. (compare Butler, 2012, p.39)

Space must move beyond the unhelpful dichotomy between the physical dimensions of space and abstract conceptions of it. (Butler,2012, p.39)

Benefit of Lefebvre to my research: he is trying to achieve an understanding of space that reduces this separation and explains the spatial relationships and connections between the mental, physical and social field. (Lefebvre, 1991, The production of space, Blackwell, Oxford, p. 11) –> How is space produced through a human agency. (Butler, 2012, p. 39)

Social Space is in accordance to Lefebvre simultaneously:

  1. a part of the means and forces of production which progressively displaces and supplants the role of (first) nature.
  2. a product that is consumed as a commodity and as a productive resource in the social reproduction of labour power,
  3. a political instrument that facilitates forms of social control
  4. the basis for the reproduction of property relations through legal and planning regimes which order space hierarchically
  5. a set of ideological and symbolic superstructures
  6. a means of human reappropriation through the development of counterspaces forged by artistic expression and social resistance.(Lefebvre, 1991, The production of space, Blackwell, Oxford,p. 349)

Lefebvre came to the conclusion that the human living body, as a deployment of energies, produces space and reproduces itself within the limits and laws of that space. (Lefebve, 1991, p. 171)

In relation to play in cities –> in which spaces are we play in mostly, eg. deploy our energy? mental, physical or social.

I would argue that pending on context or stage of urban development, we collectively move in western world towards the mental space, resulting is social isolation, and internalised view and consumption of physical space.

Ethics session (04/04/16)

  • Human Research Ethics Committee is meeting 11 times a year.
  • 15 Members
  • HDR needs to sign off the application
  • approved for 3 year (but could apply at the end of it for an extension)
    report annually

Include in my application the following:

  • protect the rights and welfare of research participants
  • protect the researcher (especially from unjustified criticism)
  • to protect institutions
  • to promote good research
  • to comply with regulatory provisions
  • to provide re-assurance to the public that research is undertaken in an ethical way.

Interaction with people so I will need ethics approval!
Stick to the University Coursework Guidelines
observations, case studies, online research, archival research as well as analysing media items such as video and / or audio recording and magazines, testing of ideas in practice as a means of improving  social, economic or environmental conditions and increasing knowledge.

Basics:

  • Risk (harm, discomfort, inconvenience)
  • Participants (characteristics, recruitment, relationships, respect)
  • Benefit (personal, social, economic, educational)
  • Consent (informed, withdrawal rights)
  • Data (confidentiality, storage, disposal) –> Data must be kept for at least 5 years at Uni computer
  • Research merit (rationale, methodology, interventions)

Can’t store data on USB, or on Dropbox, but cloud is ok.

http://www.canberra.edu.au/research/ucresearch/integrityandethics

Human ethics manual

Submission dates (outcome after 5 working days)

out of session approval (2 days turnaround)

Application form

 Writing workshop session (05/04/16)

What is the next most important thing to do?

  • be specific
  • give myself another perspective
  • focus on that one that is the closest to be finished (Jumbo jet method, e.g. get it landed)
  • pick something

–> lack of certainty makes things harder!!

One way to look back on the paper from results and review the structure! –> do always the best you can do and give it a shoot

If I knew what to do what would it be? -> create a story or narrative!

  • Write before you feel ready!
  • Write down your ideas and do not worry about style or grammar!
  • Write as a 10 year old could understand it!
  • Avoid Readitis (believe of reading more articles in order to solve the problem) or Expermentitis (spending time in data in order to find the answer)
  • Get it clear in your head first and then write it down!
  • Writing is not reading
  • Writing is creative
  • Writing is clarifies your thinking
  • try tree bubble structure (5-6 stages until you reach your result)
  • 60 % of peoples papers lack of clarity in the narrative –> always make sure the red line is visible!
  • Writing is rigorous thinking!

img_0375

Tree- bubble structure (image)

Suggested method:

  1. Write
  2. Read
  3. Write
  4. Read
  5. Write
  6. Read
  • Protect your narrative
  • Quality is in the story that I pull together
  • Write down the links to your next part of the story!
  • Be clear and simple!

Quantity:

  • write little but often
  • binge writing
  • regular snacks (time slots for writing)
  • 1-2 golden hours for writing every day –> try early in the morning when the brain is fresh!!
  • Park on the hill (link your thoughts to the theory, write dot points before stop writing at the end of each section)

What is new writing?

  • new words
  • Motivation kicks usually in after 15 minutes!

Feedback

  • Purpose of feedback is to make my work as best as possible!

 

More reading notes on theoretical background

Appleyard and Jacobs (1987) Toward an Urban Design Manifesto, in UDR p. 100) Rasmussen, Kepes, Kevin Lynch and Jane Jacobs identified a new set of vocabulary for urban design which includes sights, sounds, feels, and smells of the city. Materials, textures, floor surfaces, facades, style, signs, lights, seating, trees, sun, shade –> all this from the perspective of the observer and user.

This has humanised urban design in their opinion. Appleyard and Kacobs see problems n modern urban design. Large-scale privatization and a loss of public life, especially in the american city, has become more private embracing the consumer society and their emphasis on the individual and the private sector.

My thoughts (writing):

Why is there nothing that brings the city and play together?

Theoretically “play” can happen anywhere, but it doesn’t. When people talk about play it is usually in the child context, but adults and older members of the community can play as well. Play is a powerful behaviour, not just because its fun and creative, but people can find purpose as well as become healthier. Play is good for physical and mental health. Play is a human right. Through play we can truly learn what it means to be human. This activity is social and has an impact on the environment around us. Spaces become places as they generate value for playful behaviour. In cities we see an increase in large scale privatisation and a loss of public life. In these private spaces, humans need to follow rules. Often this excludes play. Is that everywhere so or do other cultures value play in the city differently. In our western society we like to create special places for play. Compartmentalise, regulate and control as much activity as possible. However given that play is a human right and could by nature happen everywhere I ask myself why is that so and why can’t we be more playful in the city?

Play could solve a lot of problems in cities? As we know from child play, with an increase in automobile traffic we changed the perception of safety in adults, resulting in spatial restrictions of play in the public realm and in the neighbourhood street. Very dense urban environments marginalise play, it becomes internalised. Mental health and physical activity behaviour changes and generates in combination with bad diets a serious public health issue. If we acknowledge play as a human right for all we can find a pathway to create healthy cities.

The play instinct is in all of us and can be unleashed by the flow experience through all five senses. Hearing, seeing, smelling, touching and feeling can be experienced in space. If one revisits the concept of what noise level, amenities, smells, materials and feelings are positive towards play and pleasant play experience, we could find indicators/ determinants for positive play experiences in cities spaces. Based on playful human interaction they could become valued and if they are valued, they become meaningful and people start caring for them. This can result in social inclusion and social capital in neighbourhoods as part of everyday life.

My thoughts on culture:

The culture of dwelling, means in German “Baukultur”, the culture of constructing. The way we construct our environment is a result of our thinking, which translated into words/ language. Transmitting language from one human being to another enables us to share an experience and to construct a common understanding. This understanding can result into action, allowing us to shape the environment around us. The way we do that can be referred as  dwelling (Heidegger). Heidegger describes interlinks building with dwelling and dwelling means to him “the manner in which mortals are on the earth.”  Further he notes that “building as dwelling unfolds into the building that cultivates growing things and the building that erects buildings” (p.350). Dwelling does include the environment as “earth and sky, divinities and mortals- belong together in one.” (p.351) He concludes “What we take under our care must be kept safe.”

Heideggers highlights that “space is in essence that for which room has been made, that which is let into its bounds….space receive their essential beings from locals and not from “space”.

More notes on city:

The city is “a state of mind, a body of customs and traditions, and of the organized attitudes and sentiments that inhere in these customs and are transmitted with this tradition.” Further its noted that a city is not just “merely a physical mechanism and an artificial construction. It is involved in the vital process of the people who compose it; it is a product of nature, and particularly of human nature.”  (Park and Burgess, the city, 1970, p.1)

Research term: Dialectic –> try to find definition and apply to research problem!!

Good paper to inform the method:

The right space at the right time: The relationship between children’s
physical activity and land use/land cover

Grant application for German research form

Applications open on 4 April 2016 and close on 17 June 2016. Applicants will be informed of the outcomes in writing in November 2016. Project funding will commence in 2017.

The application form is available to download here (DOCX 832.6KB).

Meeting with Andrew in regards to mid term review on 6th April –> result blog post on research plan

GIS workshop all day on 8th April 2016