Curated Resource ( ? )

Intimacy Gradient and Other Lessons from Architecture

my notes ( ? )

"to provide for Progressive Trust, you need to establish what is known as an "Intimacy Gradient"". From architect Christopher Alexander's "A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction:

Pattern #127 - Intimacy Gradient:
Conflict: Unless the spaces in a building are arranged in a sequence which corresponds to their degrees of privateness, the visits made by strangers, friends, guests, clients, family, will always be a little awkward.
Resolution: Lay out the spaces of a building so that they create a sequence which begins with the entrance and the most public parts of the building, then leads into the slightly more private areas, and finally to the most private domains."

Hence, in any house, "there are always some areas ... more public -- the entry, the living room... and areas that are more private such as bathrooms... In a good design there is some marker of change between these different areas", otherwise "uncomfortable buildings".

A software's design also needs an Intimacy Gradient, as do communities, with different levels of privacy/openness. This is hard online, as every page - no matter how intimate is should feel - is equally far (one link) from every other page. Potential solutions from architecture include:

Other ideas from architecture include:

  • "Refuge and prospect... Prospect is a place where we can see others, and refuge is a place were we can retreat ... people prefer the edges... private homes with a spectacular view" are valued because they combine both - hard, as they usually in conflict: eg "a prospect tends to be expansive and bright whereas a refuge is small and dark... So what are the edges of our social spaces?... [how to] signal either prospect and refuge?...
  • savanna theory... we should be most comfortable with those landscapes where humans spent most of their evolutionary past... eg parks and golf clubs ... what are the evolutionary markers regarding groups that our human ancestors needed?...
  • defensible space ... anonymous spaces [are plagued by] ... vandalism, incivility, and crime... residents [must] mark their "territories" and "take possession" of their areas". We see similar problems online, so how can we allow "groups of people to mark up and take possession of their own virtual spaces"?

Read the Full Post

The above notes were curated from the full post

Related reading

More Stuff I Like

More Stuff tagged web design , community , trust , pattern language , intimacy

See also: Online Community Management , Social Media Strategy , Social Web , Politics , Communications Strategy

Cookies disclaimer saves very few cookies onto your device: we need some to monitor site traffic using Google Analytics, while another protects you from a cross-site request forgeries. Nevertheless, you can disable the usage of cookies by changing the settings of your browser. By browsing our website without changing the browser settings, you grant us permission to store that information on your device. More details in our Privacy Policy.