The Psychology of Personal Space

The place where I was born an area of 50 sq meters housed an estimated 300 families, at an average of five children per family that translates to about three people per square meter. Stretch your arms at 90 degrees to each other and imagine sharing that space with three other people, one word, chaos.

Agree or not, the amount of space available to us while we grow up profoundly affects our character, thought and way of action. Before throwing tantrums hear this out; when is the last time a genius emanated from a slum? May be one in a million (of course there is an exception to everything), it has something to do with space.

Most ideas come to us when we are alone or taking that walk around the estate, two things hard to come by in densely populated areas unless you want to cross to another gangs turf where there’s a walking levy.

All this came to me after our family moved from a densely populated area to a suburb, the effects were almost immediate. I could finally enjoy the abundant air, wind, perspective and peace. I had my own room (Introverts and nerds crave this), I would collect stuff ,pile them up in my room, and study them later. I started keeping a journal and everybody went as if suddenly I became creative, nope, the cacophony of the former residence suppressed my creativity.

Suburbs have a downside too, sometimes there are not just enough people to interact with or the ones available are not on the same wavelength with your ideas, it’s a kick back-relax world for them. That’s why I love apartments, I briefly stayed at an apartment block and one thing that amazed me was the level of interaction, not too much not too little, it stroke the perfect balance of need to interact and personal space.

The tenants, mainly drawn from the populace on the upward mobility scale, highly value interaction; it is the best way to keep their careers on the move, a sort of corporate gossip at home. They say home is where the heart is; definitely, this would be a worthy home.

Originally published at on September 3, 2012.

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