Lucas François Tiphine
In a context of traffic networks saturation related to urbanisation acceleration, this research is aimed at contributing to the scientific debate on this issue by building a model to describe dynamic pedestriansâ physical distances regulation behaviours in public places.
The urban dimension of Edward T. Hallâs theory of proxemics is taken as an initial inspiration. This author argues that a correlation exists between the organisation of space at the macro level of Society and the micro level of individual behaviours. It leads him to a synthetic distinction between âcontact culturesâ and ânon-contact culturesâ. The former tends to prefer smaller distances at all scales of space organisation compared to the latter.
This hypothesis is considered seriously in the research. Nonetheless, Hallâs macro culturalist anthropological area distinction (e.g.: the âArab Worldâ = âcontact cultureâ) is not relevant anymore in the urban globalization era. Therefore, a new âmicromacroâ theory, based on 4 macro orientations expected to have an influence on micro behaviours, is proposed: equality between urban citizens, individualisation, relative urbanity and urban planning regulation.
Two other scalar correlation theories of spatial relations description are also tested. One, called âmicromesoâ, is based on Roger Barkerâs behaviour setting theory. It states that proxemical behaviours are correlated with intermediate units related to a specific place and time such as âthe subway at peak hoursâ. The other theory, called âmicroâ, states that any form of scalar correlation is an ecological fallacy. Accordingly, the description process has to remain at the very level of physical distance relations between individuals.
These different theories are tested empirically in Delhi, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo which all answer differently to the macro orientations of the micromacro theory. Behaviours inside the metro and outside of it are observed (micromeso theory). In each condition, similar levels of spatial competition for places are taken into consideration (micro theory).
The results lead to conclude that traffic relations between pedestrians are best described when considered cumulatively as micro > micromeso > micromacro by order of efficiency.
Eventually, I defend the thesis that urban dwellers should debate of traffic relationships micro conditions improvements rather than focusing on micromacro and micromeso explanations of the networks breakdowns which can be found for instance in the competition promoted between individuals on civil behaviours.EPFL