The Space Between

Hall – Hidden Dimension Distance and aging

The interaction between people are both fascinating and complex. Hall in The Hidden Dimension details his work in measuring the average dimensions between people as they interact. He found that there four fairly consistent zones: Intimate, Personal, Socio-Consultative, and Public.

Social DistanceIntimate – Ranging from 0” to 18”, this is the zone where lovers and people who are close will choose to be. People who are forced into this range with other people will hold themselves tightly and will be very uncomfortable; this is often the case on elevators, public transit, and airplanes for example.

Personal – Ranging from 18” to 4’, the personal range is where much of collaborative human interaction occurs. The personal bubble is protected, but conversation can be easy and quiet, it is comfortable to look at the other person and each person is within arm’s reach of the other.

Socio-Consultative – Ranging from 4’ to 12’, this is where more impersonal business happens. It is harder to be dominated by the other person and voice volume is normal.

Public – Ranging beyond 12’, this is where it becomes more challenging for people to interact. Voices have to be raised and it is more challenging to see details. There is also enough space to feel protected.

When arranging spaces is important to allocated the space appropriately to allow for appropriate interactions that will take place there. If people find themselves to be too close or too far from those with whom they are interacting, the space will become uncomfortable for them and not fulfill it’s purpose.

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