Population Density and Noise
The Effects of Population Density and Noise
Population density and noise can have a variety of effects on people. When privacy, personal space, and territory are infringed upon by other people or short-term or chronic noise, the effects can range from simple annoyance to severe intrusive anxiety-producing illness (Straub, 2007). As population density increases and territory, privacy, and personal space are encroached, such accommodations demand acknowledgment to prevent the psychological effects of crowding, and to prevent aggression, anxiety, and frustration.
Understanding Territoriality, Privacy, and Personal Space
Altman (1977) defines privacy as “selective control of access to the self or to one’s group” (p. 67). Privacy involves control over information about oneself as well as control over interactions with others (Hutchinson & Kowalski, 1999). In contemporary society, new technologies raise concern about the control over the information of others, which has forced defining balance of privacy versus public information. Privacy needs and values vary between individuals and also between situations and cultures (Clayton & Myers, 2008).
Personal space is the physical distance we choose by which to maintain interpersonal relationships (Hutchinson & Kowalski, 1999). Personal space and territoriality are two mechanisms for maintaining privacy. As defined by Sommer (1969) personal space is “an area with invisible boundaries surrounding a person’s body into which intruders may not come” (p. 26). Altman (1981) suggests such space is changeable, similar to privacy, and varies between individuals, situations, and culture. Neuroscientific research claims personal space is created and mediated by the human brain, and although boundaries shift within circumstances, it is of value and consequence to all people (Kennedy,...