Anne Mari Hojland Worm Hybrid Space Train Station

My very own hybrid space in Aarhus
I know there must be many hybrid spaces in Aarhus, but the only one I can think of, the only one I pass through on a regular basis, is the main railroad station. Or to be more precise, the front hall of the main railroad station. There are – as far as I’m aware - at least two different functions in use in the front hall which - I will argue - make it a hybrid space.

On the physical level the two functions occupy different ends of the hall.

The first function consists on the physical level of two large boards situated above the doors exiting the front hall towards the shopping street and the town hall. Their function is to display the departing times of the buses in Aarhus. One board displays the times of the different in city buses departing from Park Alle, the street parallel to the shopping street that is in a way an extension of the train station and the railroad. The other board displays the out of town buses departing from the central bus station 5 minutes walk from the train station.The information on the boards is continuously updated as to show the next 20 departing buses.
These two boards are a combination of what Usman Haque describes as hardspace and softspace. The physical board is the hardspace and the information displayed is the softspace.

“Hardspace, like the hardware of a computer, refers to the solid, static structure of our built environment: the walls, the floor, the roof. Softspace, again paralleling computer software, refers to the ephemeral qualities that make up our experience of space, including smells, sounds, temperatures and of course electromagnetic waves.”(Haque, Usman. 2004. “Invisible Topographies”)

The information on the boards are an example of virtual space, the information and the continuously changes in it are caused by wireless information and thus electromagnetic waves. This, Haque also calls Hertzian space. But it is the interaction between the people passing through the hall and the information displayed that creates a hybrid space. The people physically present in the hall will inform themselves by looking at the boards. And according to the information on the boards, (i.e. when do the bus I am interested in depart,) the people will change behavior. If the relevant bus is departing soon they will hurry on, if not or if too soon they will linger or plan their activities in the now time specific interval. The physical behavior is thus dependant on the wireless information displayed on the boards.

The other example of hybrid space occupies the opposite end of the hall. It is closely related to the machines where one can buy tickets. The machines are one of three possible physical options to buy train tickets; the other two are the ticket shop and the kiosk. It is namely possible to buy one’s train ticket via text message. This is a new feature in Denmark and thus not widely known. As far as I’m aware this service is only used in combination with the machines or the internet. Written on the machines, and on the webpage of DSB as well, are the guidelines to this service. And since most are unfamiliar with this service, proximity to the machines, or the internet, is required to use it. So the hardware, in this case consisting of the machines, is a necessary guide to attain the ticket, although it in itself consists of wireless information and only exists outside virtual space due to and dependant on the buyer’s cell phone.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License