Population density and noise have different negative impacts on the quality of life of people. When a person’s privacy or personal space is infringed upon by others, the effects can vary from a slight annoyance to severe psychological problems, like anxiety, frustration, or even aggression. Loud noise gives rise to similar problems, in addition to the physical loss of the hearing sense as a result of damage of the eardrum. Short-term and loud noises cause more psychological problems that last long afterwards. This makes it very important for people to understand these current issues at first, in order to treat them properly (Clayton, and Myers, 2009).
Privacy refers to a selective and controlled access to an individual or a group of people. This term is used frequently to refer to control on the information about a particular person / persons. The term also refers to a selective and controlled nature of interaction between two people. With technology, this concept of privacy has become very controversial, complicating the ability of drawing a clear-cut difference between what information is private and what is public. Today, cities are full of cameras observing and recording each and every individual’s activity (Altman, 1981). The social networks are also keeping unbelievable amount of information about people, and this has raised debates on the individual’s privacy rights. The variability in individuals privacy needs has created a complication in trying to define what should be private and what can be public.
Privacy is maintained using mechanisms, like personal space and territoriality. Personal space is said to be the physical distance that people choose to maintain in their relationships with others. It also can be termed as an area around one’s body with invisible boundaries, which others are not supposed to cross. This area varies in a particular person and depends on people, with whom they are interacting. Some people, especially the unsocial ones, are known to have generally larger areas as their personal space. This space is created and meditated upon by the brain subconsciously. Territoriality, on the other hand, refers to temporary and preventive reactive behaviors, which include perceptions, protection of places, people or objects (Clayton, and Myers, 2009). Territoriality results in reactions that people have when others come into their presence, as well as responses to different environments. In the animal behavior, these responses are usually survival based. However, human territorial responses do not have to be survival based, except in rare situations. They are, however, protective instincts, like display of aggression in an effort to demand something, or a nesting instinct in pregnant women.
Reduced availability of critical resources calls for more territoriality to protect one’s personal space and belongings. This has been the case in cities with dense population. People become less social with an increase of population, and always try to maintain clear distances between themselves (Clayton, and Myers, 2009). This is demonstrated by way of life led in these cities where one can find two people that though living close to each other, have never talked. Their internal instincts to protect what is theirs are increased by the scarcity of resources. This is common in slums and estates that are densely populated. On the other hand, large personal distances are developed by people living in the rural areas and well planned estates. These people tend to reduce their personal distances and aggressiveness of territoriality since they seem to have plenty of resource and, therefore, posses a reduced need to protect themselves from others. Scholars have noted that as populations become denser, people become more serious in protecting their privacy and personal areas. Other studies have been conducted using animals as the test subjects proving exactly the same increment in the importance of territoriality, personal space, and privacy (Altman, 1981).
To deal with deficiencies that urban centers exhibit as compared to rural areas, the planning departments ensure that the towns preserve and manage some natural settings, such as parks and zoos, to help people socialize and interact with nature. This gives people a perceived importance and appreciation of the nature. Theories have demonstrated that promoting nature gives rise to a cleaner environment with smaller number of diseases and healthier people. These parks have also been used scientifically, to research on a variety of theories.
A study, conducted in Japan, proved that people living in areas where they can access green parks seem to live longer than those living in overcrowded places without parks and zoos. This green space also helps a lot in reducing noise, produced by vehicles and other human activities; people can use them to rest and reduce stress and pressure put on them while staying at work or at their homes. These parks have also been praised for encouraging social activities, like games that go a long way to curb violence in an area.
Dealing with noise in a densely populated area is important to improve the people’s quality of life. Chronically noisy areas have been said to be very dangerous for people. In most cases, the effects are not immediate; however, after some period, a person can begin to experience them. Noise has been one of the major sources of stress that can even cause high blood pressure. Chronic exposures can also lead to an increased risk of catching cardiovascular disease, as well as a reduced ability to learn. This is far much worse in children. The body learns some maladaptive techniques of blocking stimuli, which are later used to block even important and required ones subconsciously. Louder noise has also been proved in the laboratories, to disrupt short term memories and temper greatly with the ability of an individual to perform some basic tasks that they normally execute with ease. An individual’s evaluation of noise usually varies from one person to another. Some people work comfortably with some music in the background, while others cannot even concentrate under such conditions. People, who find a little noise to be disruptive, ought to be more careful since noise affects them more. Noise brings stress indirectly by provoking a person’s annoyance or even disrupting their sleep and keeping them awake so that they lack that rest. The noise that one can do little or nothing to control has been explained as the most dangerous in causing psychological problems (Altman, 1981).
Noise could be reduced by use of fabric placement as a noise mediator. People realize that though it is hard to prevent noise from outside from entering houses, installing some fabrics on walls and windows can help keep homes silent or with minimal noise. Window panes allow a lot of sound in and covering the windows with fabric such as blinds and curtains can help in reducing the noise. Some staffed furnishings and carpeting muffles are also known to absorb a lot of sound waves helping to keep the homes quiet.
Noise can also be reduced by use of auditory masking. Auditory masking is said to exist when the perception of one sound is tempered by the presence of another sound. An individual wishing to reduce the noise may introduce a sound, usually referred to as white noise that will mask the unwanted noise using low electricity machines that are sold in the market. Among other sounds that people use to mask noise is the sound of a running river or similar appliances (Clayton, and Myers, 2009). This technique can be used in homes to reduce external noise entering the houses. However, the technique does not literally reduce the noise but rather make people less aware of its presence.
Territoriality, privacy, and personal area are the individual’s choices and perceptions of the surrounding space for normal functioning. Different people experience different psychological effects caused by space with its importance and value to a person increasing with the increase in population density. In urban centers, limited resources lead to more aggressiveness and violent behavior with negative social interactions among people that aim at protecting this space. Intrusive noise is also seen to cause a variety of problems, both physical and psychological. These effects vary from annoyance to deep anxiety and aggression, which necessitates noise reduction measures.