Proxemics model for sustainability?

Posted on May 5, 2009


Judy Olson gave a plenary talk at CHI recently.  She talked about social ergonomics in collated and remote teams.

She talked about the next big challenges for interaction design being in large activities: information integration (writing a novel), emergency medical care (from all the participants point of view) and an informed participatory democracy.      She approached these tasks  from the view point of social ergonomics.   She led us to the “physics of space” and presented Hall’s proxemics.   She reports on work examining the “broken physics of space” in applications such as video conferences. 

This got my attention, but probably not in the way she intended.

I was struck between the similarity of the Hall’s reaction bubble diagrams she was using and our attempts to visualise sustainability:


Interaction designers are using the knowledge of these spaces to facilitate interaction between people and has interesting twists for different cultures and situations.   Could we borrow from this work for sustainability?   Sustainability behoves us to think across spatial, temporal, complexity, and ecological scales.  Perhaps social ergonomics may  offer some guidance.