Perception of the environment by the individual is manifested by means of subjective analytic translation of experiences and endeavour, which in turn, reflects a behavioural response and attitude towards that environment. The individual acquires knowledge through a cognitive process formulated by codes, symbols and the ability to conceive, adapt, conclude and memorise within a contextual understanding.
The imagined concept represents a spatial reference and preference developed as a cognitive or mental map which serves as a format for reflective analysis of future events.
The phenomenal environment is a manifestation beyond physical and geographical properties as it includes the intangible and non-material existence of time and space as a medium of continuity, with relative implications on action and perception. Hence the spatial context of society is formulated by perceptive concepts in form of routine values and dispositions, which tends towards a subjective awareness.
Human endeavours are accommodated via the constraints of the non-material medium of time-space geography, within the phenomenal environment. These constraints are the variable vectors and catalysts that instigate or stimulate particular events in the evolution and eventual transformation of society. There are three affiliated constraints that constitute the eventual course of social organisation and development; authority constraints, capability constraints and coupling constraints.
Authority constraints are imposed constrained relating to administrative and institutional rules and regulations such as operation hours (working and closing hours) environmental signs and codes, work days and holidays…This constraint could also be made evident by the policies of a particular type of government, belief or social customs.
Capability constraints relate to the limits of human physicality and biological composition within the time-space geography of the environment, which are basically temporal or spatial restraints.
The physical constraint of space as a dimension of separation or distance is a constitutional element of the phenomenal environment, as it is an impediment to location and place, perception of place, social interaction, time, movement and cost.
The non-material essence of spatial distance is not only a physical experience but also a psychological repercussion induced by lack of communication, information and interaction (due to the cultural, language or political differences) between communities.
Coupling constraint is an aspect of human behaviour, which originates as a result of the impulse to organise, classify and co-operate towards a specific objective or goal. This phenomenon could be assumed as a behavioural response to events, which eventually becomes the format of adaptive decisions or updated meanings related to knowledge and acknowledgement. Coupling constraint could also materialise as a social constraint or constraint of society, which pertains to the relationship between the individual and the environment.
An Inappropriate balance or incoherence between the individual’s process of being and the social environment, could lead to an unbearable instability or stress due to the exchange of material and energy.
The threshold concludes to a bounded rationality and limited competence of awareness and recognition.
The aspiration level of the individual is expressed in terms of a psychological apprehension or contemplation connected to wishes and fulfilment. Thus time-space analysis of the interrelation between people and the social space reveals a synthesis of behavioural, cultural, historical, political and distance geography.
Spatial and temporal constraints are integrated with mechanisms that facilitate and restrain human endeavours and thus reflect on the particularities of communities especially in the disposition and manipulation of the geographic territory and people-environment interdependence.
The mapping of spatial behaviour (relative to temporal constraints) illustrate that the individual action margin or capacity, is an integral part of the behavioural environment relating to locations and operations.
These locations reflect the individual activity space of prospective interaction, information and awareness. Hence the spatial form of the phenomenal environment confirms a subjective value judgement relative to aspiration and disposition.
Ola-Dele Kuku © 2004 – Brussels