The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 16

A WALK IN THE PARK
by GORDON S. GRICE, OAA, FRAIC

Tell me where is fancy bred.
Or in the heart or in the head?
- William Shakespeare1
AMBULATORY CREATIVE RESEARCH

A few years ago, four of us met in Los Angeles to present a roundtable discussion
on "Time and Temporality in Theme Parks." It promised to be a brilliant presentation,
but maybe more important, it gave us the opportunity to further explore our latest
passion: Creative Research.
Each of us had a professional interest in theme parks, but our backgrounds couldn't
be more dissimilar. Florian Freitag is a professor of North American Studies in Germany;
Filippo Carlá-Uhunk, a lecturer in classics and ancient history in England; Scott Lukas,
an author, anthropologist and professor of theme park studies in the U.S.; and I'm
a Canadian architect. As it happens, this quirky mix is perfectly suited to Creative
Research, which we have chosen to define as: the examination of a subject, approached
simultaneously from a variety of directions, with the intent of stimulating new insights -
in a manner of speaking, serious research conducted as a creative act.
Creative Research, as the name suggests, combines two disparate elements into
a single exercise that is spontaneous and deliberate, carefree and rigorous, cerebral
and visceral, mindful and mindless - all at the same time. The tension that exists
between the two parts - the disorder of creativity and the methodical orderliness of
research - is what provides the motive force, as well as the unpredictable results.
So, to further test the effectiveness of our methodology, we decided that, before our
presentation, we would both expand and focus our minds by strolling through some
local theme parks - a decision that introduced a whole new adjective to our exercise,
creating what we might call Ambulatory Creative Research.
WALKING AND THINKING

Methinks the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.
- Henry David Thoreau2

Only thoughts reached by walking have value.
- Friedrich Nietzsche3

Psychologists Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz have conducted studies demonstrating that walking doesn't simply stimulate thought, it facilitates the formation of
creative thoughts: "Walking opens up the free flow of ideas." They conclude, "While
research indicates that being outdoors has many cognitive benefits, walking has a
very specific benefit - the improvement of creativity."4
The objective of our visit was to stimulate our own creative thoughts by walking and
observing inquisitively - to notice, and then to notice what we've noticed, as writer
Verlyn Klinkenborg might put it5 - to collect data in the form of unhindered observations, to form ideas and to discuss these among ourselves to spark further study and
examination. Here, it's worth mentioning another of Oppezzo and Schwartz's observations: "Walking increased the tendency to talk, and people were especially loquacious
when walking outside."6
If this sounds like a fancy way of describing something that any group of friends
might do at a theme park, there's some truth to that. The difference is that our discussions were aimed at finding sources of creative intuition - sources that might yield
further creative ideas. Our observations were made, secure in the knowledge that
any observation that one of us made would trigger a response from the others that
would lead to insights and deeper discussion - the very basis of Creative Research.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018

Message from the Board
Walking
Integrated Building Design... and More
Feature Project: Guelph Market Square
Index of Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Walking
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 7
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Integrated Building Design... and More
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 19
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Feature Project: Guelph Market Square
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover4
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