Straight outta the Cinema

Swedish geographer, Torsten Hagerstrand’s developed three human constraints that affect social planning: Capability, Coupling and Authority. These three constraints form a basis for the space-time path which demonstrates how human spatial activity is governed by limitations rather than independent decisions. (Corbett, n.d) In terms of the Cinema, all can be applied.

The Capability constraint refers to the limitations on movement in terms of physical factors. This constraint is determined by whether a person is ‘capable’ of getting to a cinema or the physical barriers that stand in the way.

The Coupling constraint refers to accomplishing a task in the company of other people. The space-time path must temporarily link up with people and their time.

The Authority constraint refers to a controlled area that places limits on access for particular individuals. In regards to cinema attending, a child is unable to enter a movie that is rated MA15+.

Having not been to a Cinema in a while, I think the last time was in 2013 when I went to see ‘The Wolf of Wall street’ in Times Square, I decided it was time to rekindle my relationship of sitting in a room with a group of strangers. I decided to take my sister and her boyfriend to a screening of the latest blockbuster film. We decided to see ‘Straight outta Compton’ (to be fair there wasn’t much choice) at an evening screening time to accommodate all our busy lives. In terms of the three human constraints, all played a role in our experience.

The Capability factor: we arranged a time that was suitable for all of us. For me it was within the week so I could finish this blog and for them it was when they were bored.

The Coupling factor: personally I didn’t want to go to the movies on my own particularly to see ‘Straight Outta Compton’ – I feel that is more of a movie that requires company. As we never seem to plan anything I knew I could count on my sister to see something last minute.

The Authority factor: This movie was rated R so all of us being adults were allowed to be there.

 In relation to the spatial terms of the cinema, the theatre was probably ¼ full. We decided to sit on the elevated level and to the side so we could make a quick getaway if need be (we didn’t quite know what we were getting ourselves into). For a new release big budget film it poses the question that cinemas could possibly be on the decline. And I suspect it’s largely because of technologies such as ‘Netflix’ that have enabled private viewing of the latest television series and box-office films. ScreenAustralia findings show that there is a trend in the slow decline of cinema attending. The average attendance a year has fallen from from 7.8 visits in 2004 to 6.9 in 2014 (ScreenAustralia, 2014). While it is debatable whether cinema can sustain its popularity or completely disappear, I think that despite it being a strong cultural phenomenon the ever-growing technology we have today does undoubtedly pose as a threat for the cinema.

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 6.54.38 pm(Source: ScreenAustralia)

Corbett, J, (n.d), CSISS Classics, ‘Torsten Hagerstrand: Time Geography, CSISS, accessed 31 August 2015,

Screen Australia, 2014, ‘Audiovisual Markets Audiences’ accessed 1st September,


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