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Personal Space

From our friends at Boing Boing, a provocative chart that shows the square feet per person in twelve different countries. Boing Boing guest blogger Charles Platt asks "To what extent do we feel overcrowded, as a species? I'm not talking about resources; just psychological factors." At the individual..

From our friends at Boing Boing, a provocative chart that shows the square feet per person in twelve different countries.


Boing Boing guest blogger Charles Platt asks "To what extent do we feel overcrowded, as a species? I'm not talking about resources; just psychological factors."At the individual level, how crowded you feel would depend much more on where in a country you live than on the country itself. In terms of the psychological effects of crowding, living in New York City is probably more similar to living in London than it is to living in Wyoming.Geography does have an effect at the national level too, though. America's sense of being able to expand endlessly West had a lot to do with our national penchant for exploring frontiers. Some scholars suggest that Japan's cultural emphasis on privacy is a result of the relative lack of space there. And the idea of a Germanic people who need more room goes back to the 19th century (and became infamous during WWII as lebensraum).Personally, I think I can concentrate better when I have lots of physical space-I think even being able to see the horizon makes a difference. Do you think crowding has an effect on personal or national psychology? How do we square this with the energy efficiency of super-dense urbanism?
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