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The Effects of Population Density on Individuals

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    Abstract:

    Population density has increasingly become an important discussion as solutions continue to be sought to address this problem. Increased population density can be blamed for the ever rising problems of criminal offenses, poverty, and reduced privacy. As population increase in the society, the conventional values that once used to be coveted such as social interactions become less and less important (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995). However, in spite of such problems man has to lay down some strategies to prevent these problems from affecting the quality of life. This paper begins by discussing the concept of noise and examines the influence noise has in school and hospital environments. The second part of this paper deals with the strategies to reduce the noise. The paper concludes with a critical look at the concepts of territoriality, privacy, and personal space and how they have become increasingly important as populations become denser.

    The Concept of Noise and its Effects on Individuals
    In the design of institutions such as hospitals and schools, the concept of noise is an important factor to consider. The integrity of patients and the speed of healing will to some part depend on the hospital environment (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995). In hospitals, surgical patients who are exposed to high levels of uncontrollable noise usually experience greater postoperative pain. Noise does not only affect patients but also the nurses. Noise produced by respirators, heart monitors and other equipments in the hospitals can greatly influences the nurse’s performance particularly in critical care units. They therefore tend to use more painkillers than those not exposed to such noise. Veitch & Arkkelin (1995) however identify that nurses who are immune to noise or are committed to their works show less stress regarding noise.
    Similarly, noise affects the normal learning environment especially in open classrooms. There are a number of disconcerting findings about the effect of noise in such open classrooms. Not only are the students distracted by the noise in open classrooms but the teachers also complain of the distracting noise. In open classrooms, the effects of noise are more intense for students involved in study groups. Students involved in laboratory work do not face much effect from the distracting noise even if they are in open classrooms. Conversational noise is more distractive than the one related to studies. This makes the open classrooms to be more disorderly and distractive to students more than the conventional classrooms which are closed (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995).
    Strategies to Reduce Noise in the Workplace or in the Living Environments
    To ensure that noise is reduced in the living environment and in the workplace, humans have to be given some proscriptions and limitations in order for them to function efficiently. In general, there is expected to be good design of homes and workplaces which will cause minimum discomfort to inhabitants and employees. At the same time, service industries have to consider their customers. In this case, patients and students are important in hospitals and schools respectively as these places are service institutions. Good design encourages maximum human functioning and if there is much distracting noise in workplaces and living environments, human function will be reduced. The overall goals of reducing noise in workplaces and in living environments are profit maximization, quality enhancement, remaining competent and compatible, being flexible and elegance and ensuring safety. Designers of homes and workplace structures have to consider the needs of the current users and the users in the future. What makes noise to be hard to be managed is that the designers of home places and institutional settings always find themselves in web of conflict in user and client wishes and needs. It is therefore important to follow two specific strategies lest they remain in web (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995).
    The strategies used are associative and cyclic strategies and both of these strategies need vigilant observation as well as data collection. Data collection ensures pragmatically based designs that are possible at every design process. The designers have to find out the type of structures they are designing and ensure that they do not permit noise that is distractive to the inhabitants or employees in the workplace (Miglani, n. d). The purpose of the design is an important concept to consider as some structures can be appropriate with different uses than other uses. For instance, designing a house for choir training may not take strict measures in ensuring silence in the house but classrooms and hospitals fully require that noise is prevented at all levels. Prisons may not also require much consideration when planning about noise reduction in designs. It is also important for the designers to know which designs lead to much noise when users apply them in their work. After the designers have ascertained the answers, they need to practice much creativity and evaluations. By evaluations, they have to consider cost effectiveness in constructing structures that do not permit noise and the necessary trade-offs to be made (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995). Reevaluation can also be done after the construction of the structures to determine how well the issue of noise reduction has been addressed.
    The Concepts of Territoriality, Privacy, and Personal Space
    The concepts of territoriality, privacy, and personal space have increasingly become important as the populations become denser. Residential preference depends on one’s own liking. In the United States, individuals may choose to live in single-unit suburban places while others prefer multiple unit urban residences. Perhaps the reason that emanates out of this observation is that single-family unit will tend to prevent the unwanted and excessive interactions with the neighbors. This is all about the concept of territoriality, privacy, and personal space where the home emerges to be an important physical mechanism that satisfies the requirements to establish spatial locations which individuals consider to be their private domains. Territoriality, privacy, and personal space also serve as the basis of regulating interactions in the society and therefore the home that is physically separate from other buildings will tend to reduce the social interactions by enhancing the interpersonal boundary control (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995).
    Although the concepts of territoriality, privacy, and personal space are critical in any family, financial factors set in and they preclude the chances of the majority to prefer single-unit residences and therefore increasing the popularity of multiple-unit condominiums and double-unit townhouses. The preference to live in different dwelling types has largely been influenced by age. Veitch & Arkkelin (1995) have identified that younger families always report an increased preference for the single-unit houses than they do older families. Inner-city residents have also been show to have some significance in valuing neighborhood interactions as the base for residential satisfaction. Contrary, the residents in the suburban families do not seem to value neighborhood interactions. These differences may be explained by trying to understand the conflicting needs of the individuals in question as well as the resources available to the individuals in the sub-urban places and those in inner cities.
    In general population density has some important effects which interfere with the quality of life among individuals. Heavily congested areas are prone to dangers of disease spreading at a faster rate. Noise which is a major air pollutant is common in heavily polluted areas (Miglani, n. d). Because of high population density, queues have increasingly become stressful and it may take long before one is served even in supermarkets. Privacy, which most individuals put much value in, has become less important as populations in cities continue to increase. However, despite several problems that arise due to population increase, strategies have to be set to ensure all humans live in conduceive environments.

    Reference:
    Miglani, D. (n. d). Noise pollution: sources, effects and control. LegalServiceIndia.com.            Retrieved May 23, 2010 from: http://www.legalserviceindia.com/articles/noip.htm

    Veitch, R., & Arkkellin, D (1995). Environmental Psychology: An Interdisciplinary Perspective.            New Jersey. Prentice-Hall Company.

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