The 3 Constraints

Torsten Hagerstrand used the space-time path to demonstrate how human spatial activity is often governed by limitations, and not by the decisions made by temporarily autonomous individuals. Hagerstrand identified three human constraints that changed the way social planning works, which include:

  • capability: can I get there?
  • coupling: can I get there at the right time?
  • authority: am I allowed to be there?

Based on Hagerstand’s model, capability constraints limit an individual from participating in an activity by demanding that a significant amount of time should be allocated to physiological necessities, thus limiting the distance an individual can cover within a given time-span. Therefore, making it is impossible for an individual to be in two places at once. Those who have access to vehicular transportation have what a spatial-temporal advantage over those who are limited to walking. Coupling constraints pinpoint where, when and for how long an individual must participate in an activity in order to form some level of production or consumption. It therefore is the requirement of an agreement in space and time – can I actually get there at the right time. Finally, authority constraints include those general rules, laws, economic barriers, and power relationships which dictate whether an individual has access to specific domains at specific times to do a particular activity (Ma 2011).

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the cinema this week and see Straight Outta Compton. Being a student that is in debt and overloaded with assingments who finds it hard to find time to do anything that is remotely fun I was unable to attend the movie my whole facebook feed had been raving about. With reference to the three human constraints, the capability constraints were a major limitation to attending the cinemas. Along with the ridiculous amount of homework and assignments I had to complete over the weekend, I had also had to work 10-9 on both Saturday and Sunday. Thus, making it near impossible for me to be at the cinema and at work at the same time.


Whilst researching the current statistics on cinema attendance in Australia, I came across a question that the Australian Bureau of Statistics had proposed, which was “With the advent of DVDs, Blu-Ray technology, home projector theatre systems and the ability to download movies from the internet, does anyone go the cinema anymore?”. Although mobile devices and the Internet have provided individuals with easy access to movies online, the cinema industry has been growing steadily over the last 10 years. During 2009-10, Australian cinemas had the highest attendance rate, with an estimates 11.7 million people attending the cinema in the 12 months before being interviewed by the ABS. The main factors that influence an individual’s decision to attend the cinema include; ticket prices, location and access of the cinema, the genre of movies and the times they’re being shown. Also, the main motivations for cinema attendance revolve around the cinema experience and the demand for viewing a particular movie.


The Next Web posted an article The Future Of Cinemas discussing the fluctuations in cinema attendance and the key factors that they believe impact this.There is now an assumption that technology is turning us all into antisocial hermits. Being someone who is attached to their phone I am still a very social person and enjoy attending the movies with my family and friends. However, I find that sometimes the movies being released do not interest me so instead I find a series to indulge in on Netflix. With the introduction of Cinemas people believed that it was the end of going to “The Theatre”. I believe that this is not the case and many people still love going to the theatre and seeing something live, I know I do.

There is a lot of chatter about Netflix and new technologies taking over the cinematic experience as it is becoming easier to have the same experience in the comfort of your own home. Whilst ticket sales are still steady and at times peaking the future of the cinema is still unknown.

What do you think will happen to Cinemas in the future?


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