Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The Effects of Population Density and Noise
Population density refers to how many individuals are in a particular area. To determine population density, one must divide the population of the area by the size of that particular area. Population density along with noise has varying effects on individuals. As the population density increases, noise pollution will also increase. Territoriality, privacy, and personal space are important concepts in regards to population density. As population density increases territoriality, privacy, and personal space takes on changes that individuals have to address in order to not suffer from the effects of a denser population. Also, in population dense areas such as urban environments, nature affects individuals in particular ways.
Examination of Territoriality, Privacy, and Personal Space
When discussing the problem of population density, territoriality, privacy, and personal space become increasingly significant concepts.
The concept of territoriality refers to a set of behaviors that an individual exhibits in relation to his or her physical environment or territory. Territorial behavior is a reflection of individuals’ desires to possess, occupy, and defend territory against intrusion by other individuals (Edney, 1974). In regards to territory, it is an area or areas that an individual has control over for a continual time or for brief moments in time, and even may share with other individuals. Territory helps an individual maintain his or her sense of who he or she is and helps an individual maintain a level of privacy and even personal space (Augustin, 2009).
The concept of privacy refers to individuals’ need or feelings of complete loneliness or isolation from other individuals. Also, two or more individuals of a particular group may desire a level of privacy from other individuals who are not a member of the group; therefore, being isolated from non-group members. Augustin (2009), “privacy is a fundamental human need, so place design must permit people to regulate access to themselves in the ways they have been taught by their national culture” (p. 119). The level of privacy that an individual requires depends on that individual and may depend on his or her culture. Individuals in more so independence-minded cultures, more highly value privacy, while individuals in more so interdependent cultures require less privacy than individuals in independence-oriented cultures (Augustin, 2009).
Also, individuals use varying measures to ensure privacy such as exhibiting territorial behavior and using physical barriers to ensure that other individuals observe their personal space to maintain and achieve desired privacy.
The concept of personal space refers to a three-dimensional bubble or zone that surrounds an individual and moves with that individual (Augustin, 2009). Such a bubble or zone is off limits to other individuals unless permission is given to enter one’s personal space. An individual determines the size of his or her own personal space. An individual’s gender and body type is a determinate of the size of his or her personal space. For instance, women usually require less personal space than men who require more personal space. In regards to body type, taller individuals usually require more personal space than shorter individuals, and children usually require less personal space than adults. Culture may also determine personal space size. Certain cultures, such as those primarily from northerly climates have larger personal space zones than certain cultures from southerly climates (Augustin, 2009).
Usually, individuals require less personal space when other individuals are in proximity to them, such as with family members, intimate partners, or friends. On the other hand, individuals may require more personal space in the presence of other unknown individuals or with disliked individuals. Individuals’ preferred size of personal space zones varies from individual to individual and from one culture to culture.
Importance of Territoriality, Privacy, and Personal Space
As the population becomes dense, territoriality, privacy, and personal space are continually more important concepts. Population density can affect individuals and contributes to the psychological effects of crowding. Crowding occurs when population becomes too dense; therefore, individuals suffer when crowding occurs. Crowding disrupts an individual’s perception of maintaining territory, privacy, and personal space. As a result, individuals may suffer from stress and the decline of psychological health and well-being. As a result of population becoming more dense individuals may exhibit more territorial behavior because they may have a perception of crowding and it may be increasingly harder to possess, occupy, and defend territory or territories, and to achieve and maintain a sense of privacy, and personal space.
Effect Nature has on Individuals Living in Urban Environments
A nature in urban environments such as gardens, zoos, and parks has positive effects on individuals and is beneficial for these individuals. Gardens, zoos, and parks in urban environments can encourage and ensure that individuals in those types of environments will have a relationship with nature. Also, gardens, zoos, and parks can help individuals become more satisfied and enthusiastic about themselves, their lives, and with their environments, and feel less frustrated with their environment, and improves physical and psychological health. Nature has a significant psychological influence on individuals in urban environments. Nature in urban environments also provides relaxation and restoration for individuals. Views of nature and being able to interact with nature can restore an individual’s stocks of mental energy (Augustin, 2009). Augustin (2009), “being able to look out over nature is not only important for adults; children as young as one also benefit from taking a look out over something green” (p. 174).
The Concept of Noise and the Effect it has on Individuals
The concept of noise refers to unwanted sound that comes from inside or outside of structures and is undesirable for individuals. When individuals try to make sense of noise it can become distracting. Irregular noise or noises can also be disturbing because individuals try to find patterns in such noises. Noise can directly influence an individual’s levels of stress and can be detrimental to levels of stress, and more noise leads to more stress (Augustin, 2009). Noise can also make individuals feel tense. Noise is also determinately to health. Augustin (2009), “noise in educational environments can influence students’ health and has been linked to higher blood pressure in students” (p. 224). Individuals are unable to relax when hearing unpredictable noises because the rhythms of an individual’s heart and breathing cannot mimic these unpredictable noises (Augustin, 2009).
However, annoying noises can be bearable for individuals when individuals can predict the patterns of noises. Minimizing noise and noises that are distracting or annoying is important for individuals; that is, for reducing stress and improving health. When annoying noises are predictable individuals are able to develop coping strategies to reduce noises.
Strategies used to Reduce Noise
Deterring and reducing noise pollution is not an easy task for individuals. There are no possible means of completely avoiding noise pollution in workplace or living environments. However, when the noise becomes annoying for individuals then they can reduce the effects of the noise in workplace or living environment by using particular coping strategies. What occurs with noise is that individuals are unable to concentrate when sounds are unpredictable because they divert mental processing power to anticipate what occurs next with noise (Augustin, 2009). One strategy to use in workplace and living environments is to rearrange space. The physical form of spaces can influence how individuals experience sound. Therefore, by rearranging space, that is, to rearrange furniture in workplace and living environments, individuals are able to deflect sound waves or noise from bouncing around in random directions.
Thereby, redirecting or deflecting noise in other directions away from the ear such as toward the ceiling, which reduces the effect noise, has on individuals. Another strategy individuals can use to reduce noise in workplace and living environments is to incorporate soft surfaces. When only rough surfaces are in spaces sound waves or noise also bounce around in random directions. By incorporating soft surfaces such as curtains, suspended ceilings, carpeting, and upholstery into workplace and living environments individuals are able to redirect sound waves toward floors, ceilings, and in other directions besides toward individuals’ ears (Augustin, 2009).
When population becomes dense, territoriality, privacy, and personal space are concepts that become increasingly significant in environments. In urban environments, nature such as gardens, parks, and zoos have significant positive effects on individuals in these environments. Noise is an important concept that can have negative effects on individuals when populations become dense. When this occurs individuals can incorporate coping strategies such as rearrange space and incorporating softer surfaces into workplace and living environments to redirect the effects of noise.
Augustin, S. (2009). Place Advantage: Applied Psychology for Interior Architecture. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Edney, J. J. (1974). Human territoriality. Psychological Bulletin, 81(12), 959-975. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0037444