Post 581 –by Gautam Shah (8 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)
NEIGHBOURHOOD –The first setting for human behaviour:
A neighbourhood is a space with uncertain markings. The extent of a neighbourhood is flexible, depending on the person’s physical reach capacity, vehicles or means used, routing, climate, obstructions and the linkages such as bridges, access conditions etc. A mother will not allow a child beyond visual field or shout-out reach. A youngster reaches out to known places like friends’ house, school or playground. Buildings and objects on daily routes of travel seem part of the neighbourhood. Objects beyond the cross barriers, such as busy roads, water-bodies, railway-tracks, hillocks etc. are considered parts of other neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods are politically and administratively defined as wards, zones, sections or postal code zones.
The neighbourhood is a sharing space and so intra-personal activities occur here. The intra-personal behaviour rests on exploitation of the spatial conditions of the neighbourhood, such as, proper orientation, anchoring to potential locations, distancing from other humans and objects, scheduling the use-occupation, calibrating the spread of activities and by regulating the intensity of interactions. The neighbourhood space becomes a setting for behaviour more by exploitation of the features and less by way of design.
The neighbourhood, though a public space of uncertain extent and for nonspecific users, is reasonably non-changing and manageable realm. The manageability develops from social attitude not to disturb the fabric that provides familiarity, reliability, predictability and security. This fabric, however, gets disturbed by new buildings, new settlers in large numbers, rapid changes in urban-architectural character.
The space and the environment, as recognized here, are beginning of an individual as well as mutual process of domestication. The behaviour in interior space ensues and persists due to the neighbourhood exterior. The involvement of exterior and interior is also stepped up by various types of inward-outward transgressions. The exterior neighbourhood space is reflection of the interior space, a carry over of the past, perception of future, or an extension of the present.
INTERMEDIATE ZONES —second setting for human behaviour:
The involvement of exterior with interior space is graded. There are two major types of grading mechanisms: Threshold areas and adjunct structures. Both of these subsist on gaps, cleavages and openings in the barriers of space making elements. The thresholds have a physical depth which alters the transition occurring through it. These depths are often inadequate to occupy or conduct a task. So adjunct structures like a verandah, shades, etc. help the process of transition.
The threshold areas and adjunct structures abutting the gaps, cleavages and openings are used for different types of transits and so support distinctive behaviour. Such varied uses of intermediate zones are of two main categories as seen in barriers of the interior space being transgressed inward or outward. Inward transgressions like Chowks, courtyards and cutouts, bring in the experience of the exterior. Outward transgressions like Verandah, Chhatris, pavilions, Galleries, bay, oriel and Mashrabiya windows, distend the interior space. These intermediate zones are always attached to the barrier system of the space making elements, in other words, connected to the peripheral zone. The intimate connection to the peripheral zone permits extension of the activity nominally occurring in that zone.
INTERIOR SPACE –third arena for human behaviour:
An interior space is finite due to its omnipresent enclosure. The enclosure is, however, relieved through the exchanges taking place through the gaps, cleavages and openings and the inward and outward transgressions. The concurrency of the interior space with the exterior provides spatial and environmental variations. The interior space is constituted by Six elements: 1 -Thresholds, 2 -Adjunct structures, 3 -Outward distensions, 4 -Inward ingress, 5 -Peripheral zones and 6 -Core zone.
A threshold is a symbolic divide, and whatever spatial spread it has is a metaphoric effect. But it stops guests and discourages one venturing out. Adjunct-structure near a threshold adds physical spread and extends the periphery of the interior space. This structures offer multipurpose space but yet it remains an extension of the nearby interior space, such as drawing room, bed room, kitchen. Very specific spaces, such as storage, toilet, prayer room, etc. if have such adjunct structures, the specificity is lost. Outward-distensions Increase the interior spread of the peripheral zone or create a new one. It remains a space within a space and is affected by the happenings in the core zone. Inward-ingress provide the environmental variation to the static core zone, very often disturbing the dominance of the core. Peripheral-zones allow wide variety settings for human behaviour, but these are location and situation specific and core zone dependent. Core-zone is multipurpose area and, so time scheduling and activity spread, are key determinants of human behaviour. Both are exploited for social interactions but needs for environment, privacy, intimacy, expression and communication force an activity first to the peripheral zones and then to inward and outward transgressions.
VIRTUAL SPACES –-Fourth sphere for human behaviour:
Virtual space is unreal on one or both the counts, exterior and interior. Here the physical presence of either exterior or interior realms, are made through notional representations. Many such conditions created with make-believe conditions, and so have limited efficiencies, or very concentrated space and intensive time experience. Make-believe do mould the human behaviour with compact and direct effects. Make-believe effects are useful for their novelty or experience.
Other indirect manifestations of human behaviour are in the ‘expressions’ through art, craft, performances, writing, etc. Here the expressions represent a set of emotions and so are interpreted for the expression of behaviour. The exercise is likely to be very subjective, yet an ethnic society or mature culture offers some common insight.
This post forms 8th of the Sixteen part of Lecture series on Behaviour in Space that I will be offering for the spring semester starting Jan 2016 (to mid April2016) at School of Interior Design, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.