Lefebvre’s Research Method

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Descriptive (primary research): Observation

  • Observe practices through photography, film, sketching. For example what constitutes an open product, a game, ‘the proper’, a tent, a lifestyle, a house, a dwelling, a bicycle, a tool, a container?

Analytico-historic (secondary research)

  • Look at the the history of the object / subject  / place / concept / process in the brief through archives, books, internet.


  • Look at the social, economic, political context / implication of the object / subject  / place / concept / process and consider the future.

On the one hand, we have an abstract space of pure mathematical figures and verbal messages manifested in the design of offices, organisational rules and symbols, and so on (Spicer and Taylor, 2004).

On the other, an all-too-material, and therefore indifferent space, consisting of the flows of
labour, money, information (Harvey, 1990) and every physical movement of employees: their opening doors, sipping coffee, and etc.

In between of these two poles, there is the lived space, a space of pure subjectivity, of human experiences (Watkins, 2005), of people’s sense-making, imagination, and feeling that is, their local knowledge of the organisational space as they encounter it.

Lefebvre’s seminal work The Production of Space is available here.


  • What Is Lived Space? – Zhongyuan Zhang
  • S. Elden (2004) Understanding Lefebvre: Theory and the Possible. London: Continuum. (PB, pp. 288,