Post 512 –by Gautam Shah
Spatial behaviours of human beings are in response to the spatial environment and in spite of it. Space is the setting where environment and its cognition occur. Cognition is universal, but has personal endowments and so environment has subjective significance. In a space the spatial features remaining static, environment is continually varying, and so the spatial experience is ever expounding. Environmental conditions and spatial features, manifest in concert. We expect the presence of one to trigger the other. And this becomes a great tool for designing spaces and thereby infuses desired behaviour.
Nature of cognition is one major factor that governs the Space experience. Space experience results from cognitive systems, their capacities, and physiological needs. It is also affected by the inherited (intuitive) and learnt (intellectual) knowledge. Space experience is also formed by the presence of other beings, recognition and acknowledgement.
As designer, we exploit both, the environmental features and facilitations by space elements, to condition specific behaviour. Space elements such as amenities, facilities, support structures and reach extension tools, along with environmental conditions that offer comfort, security, safety and survival, are used for infusing desired nature of behaviour. The behaviour is intended for place occupation, acclimatization, dimensional accommodation, sensorial and physical reach, and task functionality of a space. The behaviour gets primarily reflected in human body-limb language of postures, gestures, stability and mobility, and secondarily in sensorial vulnerability and degree of congeniality (privacy and intimacy). At another level, the overt expressions like speaking, writings, painting, also reflect the space and environment.
For a Designer, space, environment and human behaviour indicate how a person will respond to a given space+environment setting. Alternatively one can predict how an individual or group will behave in certain setting. At individual level the human behaviour is governed by age, sex, level of adaptation, familiarity, consistency, variability, limb capacity, body-limb coordination, etc. But the social-contact mechanisms regulate what we share and empathize. The interactions with others depend on the awareness about sex, age, stature, need, social position, degree of familiarity, distance and recognition (through cognition). The behaviour (even of lone beings) and the forms of interpersonal relationships of various races and cultures are different. Here the lifestyle or cultural values that has been passed on from one generation to another as ethnicity or ‘cultural ethos’ play an important role.
Behavioural responses nominally occur for the co-occupants that are present, but sometimes through the metaphoric presences. Metaphoric presence of others is reinforced primarily by the historical context (what we have been told or learnt) and associations.