L’œil du chercheur N° 5

Spaces(s), Places(s) & Work

Our relationship with space is physical, sensorial and emotional. At a time when life is moving ever faster and when physical and digital spaces are multiplying, the field of human sciences is taking a fresh look at the concept of territory and of space.

Our physical presence defines a space, and conversely, space provides a medium for human interaction. Researchers use the terms ‘spaces’ and ‘territories’ in the plural because societal groups are continually creating and recreating, fashioning and framing, and altering and delineating places. For instance, within office buildings or factory workshops there can be a myriad of territories functioning smoothly together, or not, as the case may be. There is no archetypal workspace; instead there are many diverse workspaces. Our choices between open or closed spaces reflect what work represents for us.

How a space is organised necessarily interacts with how work is organised. How workspaces are configured depends on how professions, trades, services, and even customer expectations change. So for instance, a decision to widen a corridor could be made in order to facilitate throughput (people, products).