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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Architecture of Waiting: The Human Perch

Posted by on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 1:46 PM

When the sidewalk has a ledge, and there is some waiting to do (in this case for the bus), we humans like to...

  • CM

But where exactly is the pleasure in this for us? Is it the feeling of being taller? Being elevated? Is it something to do with the nature our feet? Part of the the foot likes to hang over the ledge's edge? If so, why? Yes, one more mystery to consider.


Comments (8) RSS

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yelahneb 1
Yes! I have noticed this too. Maybe also a means of staying out of the way of passers by?
Posted by yelahneb on June 18, 2014 at 1:44 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 2
As I get older, the distance to the ground gets more ominous. It becomes a threat that could consume me in one slip or trip or loss of balance. This photo is like defiance of gravity at your peril. And yet, it's something you might not even notice if you're still young.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on June 18, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
theophrastus 3
..knew someone who got a degree in urban architecture once, and they had the concept of "prospect and domain". i believe it boiled down to we feel more comfortable from a position which allows us to see some distance around us ("prospect") and which gave us a sense of a defensible zone around us ("domain"). probably sensible from the point of view of a small pro-simian on the savannah with various predators about ((camera tracks back, our subject fails to be looking upwards ... there's a leopard above... screen goes black))
Posted by theophrastus on June 18, 2014 at 1:52 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 4
So I'm not as much in the way of passersby and my brain has something to engage in (balancing).
Posted by Unregistered User on June 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM · Report this
treacle 5
I think that we are subconsciously excited by the 'danger' of balancing, the extra effort; it makes our senses and brain tingle, and we like it when our brain & body is challenged at low levels like this.

And I think theophrastus@3 is correct also.

(Also, please note, that in general people do not look up. (So its surprising we made it this far, what with all those leopards up in trees).)
Posted by treacle on June 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM · Report this
raindrop 6
All very interesting, but what part do the discarded cigarette butts play?
Posted by raindrop on June 18, 2014 at 6:53 PM · Report this
Post_Mortem 7
To me, it's like kicking a rock down the street: the sort of small thing I used to do as a kid for fun, and never saw any reason to stop.
Posted by Post_Mortem on June 19, 2014 at 12:28 AM · Report this
Hardly a mystery- there have been extensive studies about how human beings relate to built spaces- most notably, A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander's massive 1977 book about architecture, urban planning, and people.
Unfortunately for Charles, it also explains why most people feel differently than he does about Modernist Architecture.
Most modernist architects believe in the singular genius school of design, rather than studying what works and pleases.
Anyway, spaces like this are design details that relate to the scale of the human body, and our inherent love of vistas and secret places.
Posted by CATSPAW666 on June 19, 2014 at 1:14 PM · Report this

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