Exploring Behaviour of Homo Ludens: Sense of Play and Sense of Place

Erkan R.

Journal of Urban Research and Development, no.2, pp.47-58, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


This study has been discussed as a result of exploratory research to provide a base for future studies. The collapse of public spaces, which are the places of encounter and interaction of cities, started with the industrial revolution and caused the loss of publicity, interaction, and communication until today, isolated the public people and limited their actions. In this context, human beings are considered as "homo ludens" (Huizinga, 1980) (a human who plays) for the recovery of publicity in cities. The facts that underlie the concept of play, which humanity has known from its existence until today and which enables interaction and communication thanks to its community-building feature, have been examined. To examine the people who play, the Anatolian coastline of the city of Istanbul has been chosen as a public space that allows for playful acts. Observations were carried out by considering the three sections of this coastline, which people prefer most, and which are far from the road and do not connect with the vehicle. Since the play does not accept any instrumentality and takes place instantaneously, the observations are based on the performance research method. Taking photographs, videos, instant notes, and drawing sketches for each area for 1 hour each weekday evening, weekend daytime, and weekend evening, has been operated. After the observations, 113 different playful actions emerged. Using the multi-step analysis for categorization technique to make these actions favorable data, four basic concepts (from the discipline of improvisational theatre or impro, which is called from Keith Johnstone) underlying improvisational playful acts have been reached. Platform, assent, conflict, and obstacle have been obtained from this exploratory research and studied in more detail to shed light on future studies.