July 21, 2004

Residential Mobility: How people change homes

Moving truck This talk was an Intel Research Seattle talk by Irina Shklovski from Intel PaPR group.

17% of Americans change their residence in any 12-month period. This means there is a lot of business around moving. Moving isn't considered a very big deal. Moving is "okay." But it disrupts social networks, causes stress and depression, and destroys social identity

Technology is affecting relationships, but social norms and communication culture is evolving with technology. It isn't clear whether technology is allowing easier maintenance of distributed social networks.

Does Internet use alleviate stress associated with geographic mobility?

This talk discussed a study of eight families in various stages of moving on the West Coast and Tennessee.

  • Moving is an opportunity to clean physical space.
    • Yard Sales
    • People are more likely to throw away on unpacking since people tend to do it themselves
    • Things that have sentimental value don't get thrown out, but are hard to identify to an outsider. The sentimental items provide familiarity in a new place
  • Moving causes people to preserve, approximate, or transform old ways of living.
    • Music spaces were preserved
    • Refrigerators were mostly preserved
    • Approximation were required by space limitations
    • New practices helped to adjust to a new place such as collecting things that are cool in the new location.
  • Moving requires relearning where things are.
    • People bought books about new places, but not maps because maps were available online
  • Keeping "in touch"
    • New communication modalities - move caused people to buy cellphones
    • People with cellphones had to decide if they wanted landlines
    • Cellphones don't have a "place"
My thoughts:
I was a little bit underwhelmed by this presentation. While it was interesting to engage in the idea of how technology impacts residential moves, I don't think that anything was presented that was that surprising, exciting, or even actionable. This seems to be a study that aims to scientifically evaluate something that people don't really question, but no one has a reference to quote. During the presentation there was a lot of argument about the creation of space in new locations that seemed to be splitting hairs based on anecdotes. I'm also not sure that any conclusions could really be drawn from this other than technology impacts residential mobility in different ways. Posted by djp3 at July 21, 2004 4:12 PM | TrackBack (0)
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