I’m in the middle of writing deadlines, so just a piece from Life between buildings that was hanging in my blogging notes for ages:
At the edge of the forest or near the façade, once is less exposed than if one is out in the middle of a space. One is not in the way of anyone or anything. One can see, but not be seen too much, and the personal territory is reduced to a semicircle in front of the individual. When one’s back is protected, others can approach only frontally, making it easy to keep watch and to react, for example, by means of a forbidding facial expressions in the event of undesired invasion of personal territory.
The edge zone offers a number of obvious practical and psychological advantages as a place to linger. Additionally, the area along the façade is the obvious outdoor staying area for the residents and functions of the surrounding buildings. It is relatively easy to move a function out of the house to the zone along the façade. The most natural place to linger is the doorstep, from which it is possible to go farther out into the space or remain standing. Both physically and psychologically it is easier to remain standing than to move out into the space. One can always more farther later on, if desired.
It can be concluded that events grow from inward, from the edge toward the middle of public spaces.
When I read this one as a well as lots of examples of places people choose for hanging out in public, it becomes clear that the edge between purely personal and private “my” space and truly social “our” space is important. This is the space for observing, making choices and getting ready to step out into social engagement. This is also the space in between that is so often missing or neglected. I’m thinking of “old” technologies that support either you personally (all stuff that runs on the desktop) or what ever group with shared activity (all kinds of groupware stuff). Being there just to observe before jumping in is lurking and often it’s not considered to be a good behaviour…
I guess it’s a bit cryptic, but if you read me long enough you probably able to connect the dots. Otherwise just wait till words around ideas mature and mould into something readable…
Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2005/06/03.html#a1580; comments are here.