The Concept of Attachance (A list of articles)

Oliver Ding
Published in
8 min readMar 25


I coined the term Attachance by combining Attach and Chance in 2018 to discuss some ideas related to Affordance, a core idea of Ecological Psychology.

Affordance means potential action opportunities offered by environments. I want to highlight the meaning and value of actual action itself, however, the term Affordance only refers to potential actions. Thus, I coined the term Attachance to emphasize the potential opportunities offered by actual actions, especially the attaching act and the detaching act.

In 2019, I started working on my own theoretical account of the Ecological Practice approach after finishing a book titled Curativity. The 2019 version of the approach is a curated toolkit version. The concept of Attachance is part of the toolkit. In May 2020, I wrote a book titled After Affordance: The Ecological Approach to Human Action in which I proposed several new theoretical ideas for expanding ecological psychology to the modern digital environment. The primary theme of After Affordance is the concept of Attachance.

The concept of Attachance is planned to develop as 1) an ecological practice concept for practice studies such as interaction design and startup innovation, and 2) a philosophical concept for developing a social theory.

The book After Affordance only achieves the first goal and it focuses on the following acts:

  • Attaching to an environment
  • Detaching from an environment
  • Attaching to an object
  • Detaching from an object

I use the concept of Attachance in many ways.

In 2022, the development of Attachance was tied to the development of Thematic Space which refers to a specific type of container: cognitive container. You can find more details in [Slow Cognition] The Development of the concept of “Thematic Spaces”.

On March 10, 2023, I wrote a short post about the development of “Attachance” on Linkedin.

In order to highlight this significant insight, I made a new possible theme called “Mental Moves”.

On March 24, 2023, I wrote a long post about the theme of “Mental Moves” and designed a plan for the “Mental Moves” knowledge project:

I am going to curate more examples about “Moving between Thematic Spaces” and edit a possible book titled Mental Moves: The Attachances of Moving Mental Elements.

You can find more details in the following links:

This article continues the journey and collects my articles about the concept of Attachance.


Chapter 2: The Attachance of Diagram…(Added on May 2, 2023)


…There are six movements between these three states and each movement refers to a specific type of Attachance…(Added on May 1, 2023)

Now we can use the Five-space model to map the dynamics of Strategic Curation…There are 14 types of possible moves between five spaces! (Added on May 22, 2023)

Based on the Strategic Curation model, we can claim that Strategic Cognition is a process of moving between five thematic spaces in order to master strategy-related thinking and doing.

After curating the above list, I found the initial post about the significant insight “Attachance: Moving between Thematic Spaces”. See the screenshot below:

It is a comment!


On July 24, 2022, I wrote a short post to reflect on my experience of writing a thesis titled Project Engagement (v2.1) on Linkedin. See the screenshot below.

After publishing the post, I got the insight “Attachance: Moving between Thematic Spaces” and wrote the comment.

In fact, I had the idea of “Attachance: Moving between Containers” in 2020. See the diagram below. It was introduced in my 2020 book (draft) After Affordance.

However, the concept of “Thematic Spaces” was born in 2022. Originally, it was used to develop the Knowledge Discovery Canvas. Later, I turned it into a theoretical concept for the Project Engagement approach. See the post [Slow Cognition] The Development of the concept of “Thematic Spaces”.


I actually used the idea of “Creative Attachance as Moving between Thematic Spaces” as the subtitle of the post.

It means that “the new insight” I made within the common is not new.

  • The comment was made on July 24, 2022
  • The post was published on July 19, 2022

Though these two insights use the same words, their context is different.

On July 19, 2022, I reviewed the development of the concept of “Thematic Spaces” and mentioned two types of Attachances:

  • Social Attachance: This is a fantastic Social Attachance. I attached my mind to the newest Lifezone which offers me a new opportunity to improve my theoretical frameworks from the perspective of a meta-theory of theoretical sociology.”
  • Thematic Attachance: “Also, there is a Thematic Attachance. The connection between ‘Project Engagement’ and ‘Themes of Practice’ can be understood as an attaching action which means I attached the notion of ‘Themes of Practice’ to the ‘Project Engagement’ approach.

On July 24, 2022, I reviewed the thesis about Project Engagement (v2.1) and the moves between the “Project” thematic space and the “Platform” thematic space.

  • “In 2020, I moved from the ‘Project’ thematic space to ‘Platform’ thematic space and attached the concept of ‘Project’ to the Platform for Development framework.”
  • “In 2022, I moved back from the ‘Platform’ thematic space to the ‘Project’ thematic space. This time, I detached the concept of ‘Platform’ and ‘Platform Genidentity’ framework from the Platform Ecology approach and attached them to the Project Engagement approach (v2.0).”
  • “We can use the notion of ‘Moving between Thematic Spaces’ to explain my creative actions.”

Now it is easy to use the model of “Container [Configuration (Mental Elements)]” to visualize the above post.

All examples of “Moving between Thematic Spaces” can be represented with the above model of “Container [Configuration (Mental Elements)]”.



Oliver Ding
Editor for

Founder of CALL(Creative Action Learning Lab), information architect, knowledge curator.