Personal Bubbles

18 04 2010

People seem to walk around with a personal space bubble.  We are often lost in our own little worlds.

It is conversations (no matter how simple or deep the conversations) we are letting others into our space – physically they are closer but they also share our mental space.

It is the fascinating dynamics in the middle of those states, that this project explores and tries to bridge.

It is in public spaces and areas of density where we culturally accept people entering our spaces in a different way.  We want to, learn to or forced to share space in cities.

On a bus we just accept people sit and stand close to us.  But in an interesting discussion with Brett, acceptance does not mean we like to share, and that people can be more guarded when around more strangers.

Does sharing physical space, translate into a connection?

My urban design background would tell me space influence behaviour.  Logically, being in the same space as another person, must open the possibility for connection.

But it has to be more than space. There needs to be a shared “something” to connect people.

On a bus,  that could be a spectacle – like some weird person or sight, that starts a conversation.

In a neighbourhood block, that could be a development project to connect people.

In life,  it could be a similar hobby to connect people.

The “priority conversation” signage tries to be a prompt.  Perhaps something funny to start a conversation about conversations at least.

This is consistent with the “Principles for creating community places” from Project for Public Spaces. PRINCIPLE VII. Triangulate.

“Triangulation is the process by which some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and prompts strangers to talk to other strangers as if they knew each other” (Holly Whyte). In a public space, the choice and arrangement of different elements in relation to each other can put the triangulation process in motion (or not)

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