Infographic: Seeking Privacy In Public

Where can you find personal space? Your private home? Or the public library? This visual test will help you find out.

Somehow, I can find my own little universe in the back of a crowded, noisy coffee shop, but my dedicated home office feels full of distractions. My cat. My wife. I just can’t get my head in a place to write.

It’s a paradoxical sensation of city living, explored by Public/Private, an interactive visualization by BMW Guggenheim Lab. It’s essentially a beautifully designed poll, honing in on your city via satellite map, then asking you to categorize the spaces you find most private—your home, workspace, religious buildings, or the city streets.

The questionnaire itself is sure to incite introspection. For instance, I’d never realized that I considered restaurants private before being asked. But in reality, I’ve had some of the most intimate conversations of my life whilst sitting shoulder-to-shoulder amongst strangers. At the same time, I thought about my last trip to the Art Institute—a cultural space. No one speaks, but I was constantly dodging to get a better look at the Picasso exhibit. It didn’t feel private in the least.

But its Public/Private’s final visualization—a percentage graph made of words—that will put your quirks into stark black (private) and white (public) perspective. With this in hand, you can compare your city’s averages to places around the world. As more people visit the site, it will be interesting to see what we can learn about trends in cities across the world. Are we all the same, or are various cities and cultures different? Can those in denser populations find solitude more easily (because of expectation), or is it more difficult (because of logistics)?

There’s only one way to know for sure: Why don’t you go ahead and take the test to help us find out?

Try it here.

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