Macquarie University
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Felt knowing, tacit knowledge and creative practice: insights from architects and private developers in urban settings

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posted on 2022-03-29, 03:29 authored by Kate C. McCauley
This thesis looks closely at architectural design and private developer practice in relation to public sector urban planning practice. In particular, it focuses on experiential aspects of how practitioners from each of these distinct practice traditions, who work in similar contexts but under different conditions, do what they do. Analysis is undertaken at a particularly fine resolution, exploring the phenomenology of their practices using constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz 2006). This allows the thesis to build a grounded theory in the form of a partial model of practices used by the participants, as they transition back and forth between feeling, thinking and doing in their professional practices. The research delivers three main findings : (i) fine resolution practices described in different settings by Gendlin (1996), Petitmengin‐Peugeot (1999) and Walkerden (2005) are echoed in skilful architectural and property developer practice; (ii) elements of a family of gestures involving problem‐solving, designing and negotiating can usefully be delineated in the practices of private developers and architects; and (iii) there are resonances between the practices of private sector architects and developers, and public sector urban planners (including designers) which open up new possibilities for knowledge sharing and provoking creativity amongst practice traditions affecting urban futures. These findings are significant because they complement and contribute to recent work in communicative planning. Forester (1989) identified conversational practices that support an understanding of urban planning as communicative (building on the work of Habermas 1984), and identified the importance of conversation – dialogue, debate and deliberation – as a platform for ‘making sense together’. This research identifies more interiorly‐oriented practices that support creative responses to challenges of urban planning and private development and in integrative ways. The thesis concludes that better understanding how practice operates complements Forester’s emphasis on the social aspects of making sense, and also advances the emphasis on democratic process and social justice in communicative planning. Finally, the thesis considers how these findings open new opportunities for developing a teachable model of the microprocesses of practices identified in the mappings of modes of practice presented.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. A review of the literature -- 3. Methodological frame and research methods -- 4. Gestures and metaprocesses emerging from architectural practice -- 5. Gestures and metaprocesses emerging from private developer practice -- 6. Implications and significance of the models of practice for public planning -- References -- Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 288-294 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography and Planning

Department, Centre or School

Department of Geography and Planning

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Greg Walkerden

Additional Supervisor 1

Richard Howitt


Copyright Kate C. McCauley 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




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