“Hägerstrand online”: A methodical template for the analysis of space-time trajectories in collaborations


  • Alice Melchior Hafencity Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsgebiet Stadt- und RegionalökonomieHamburg, Deutschland
  • Benjamin Schiemer Johannes-Kepler-Universität Linz, Institut für OrganisationLinz, Österreich
  • Gernot Grabher Hafencity Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsgebiet Stadt- und RegionalökonomieHamburg, Deutschland




Hägerstrand, Time geography, Virtuality, Co-presence, Laboratory, Studio


In economic geography, during the last years interest in various aspects of temporality increased, both in the context of short- as well as longer-term physical interaction constellations. Despite the empirical and theoretical differentiation of physical co-presence, two aspects have not been problematized in a sufficiently systematic fashion so far: first, the dichotomous understanding of physical co-presence (that is reduced to a binary differentiation of presence/absence) and, second, the conception of virtual co-presence as a deficient version of communication (that lacks the broad spectrum of sensual cues of face-to-face interaction). To overcome the insufficient conceptualization of co-presence we enrich our geographical argumentation with findings from adjacent disciplines and focus on the modification in communication contexts implied by virtualization. In particular, the intricate entanglement of offline and online interaction dynamics is challenging the established methodical and conceptual geographical approaches. In order to deal with these challenges, we seek to advance the time-geographic model of Torsten Hägerstrand by including the virtual dimension of interactions. The aim of our extension is the development of a methodical template that is suitable to conceptualize empirically space-time trajectories in physical, virtual and (physical-virtual) synthetic contexts. We illustrate our methodical-conceptual extension of the time-geographic model with empirical vignettes from the fields of art (music production in a studio) and science (pharmaceutical research in a laboratory).


Download data is not yet available.


Bathelt, H.; Turi, P. (2011): Local, global and virtual buzz: The importance of face-to-face contact in economic interaction and possibilities to go beyond. In: Geoforum 42, 5, 520-529. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.04.007

Campos-Castillo, C. (2012): Copresence in Virtual Environments. In: Sociology Compass 6, 5, 425-433. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2012.00467.x

Couclelis, H. (2000): From Sustainable Transportation to Sustainable Accessibility: Can We Avoid a New Tragedy of the Commons? In: Janelle, D. G.; Hodge, D. C. (Hrsg.): Information, Place, and Cyberspace: Issues in Accessibility. Berlin, 341-356. doi: 10.1007/978-3-662-04027-0

Couclelis, H. (2004): Pizza over the Internet: e-commerce, the fragmentation of activity and the tyranny of the region. In: Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 16, 1, 41-54. doi: 10.1080/0898562042000205027

Creswell, J. W. (2007): Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. London.

Dijst, M. (2004): ICTs and Accessibility: An Action Space Perspective on the Impact of New Information and Communication Technologies. In: Beuthe, M.; Himanen, V.; Reggiani, A.; Zamparini, L. (Hrsg.): Transport Developments and Innovations in an Evolving World. Berlin, 27-46. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-24827-9

Farber, S.; Neutens, T.; Miller, H.J.; Li, X. (2013): The Social Interaction Potential of Metropolitan Regions: A Time-Geographic Measurement Approach Using Joint Accessibility. In: Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103, 3, 483-504. doi: 10.1080/00045608.2012.689238

Geertz, C. (1973): Thick Description: Toward an Interpretative Theory of Culture. In: Geertz, C. (Hrsg.): The Interpretation of Cultures. Selected Essays. New York, 310-323.

Girtler, R. (2001): Methoden der Feldforschung. Wien.

Grabher, G. (2002): Cool Projects, Boring Institutions: Temporary Collaboration in Social Context. In: Regional Studies 36, 3, 205-214. doi: 10.1080/00343400220122025

Grabher, G.; Ibert, O. (2014): Distance as asset? Knowledge collaboration in hybrid virtual communities. In: Journal of Economic Geography 14, 1, 97-123. doi: 10.1093/jeg/lbt014

Grabher, G.; Maintz, J. (2007): Learning in personal networks: Collaborative knowledge production in virtual forums. In: Hof, H.; Wengenroth, U. (Hrsg.): Innovationsforschung: Ansätze, Methoden, Grenzen und Perspektiven. Hamburg, 187-202. = Innovationsforschung 1.

Grabher, G.; Melchior, A.; Schiemer, B.; Schüßler, E.; Sydow, J. (2018): From being there to being aware: Confronting geographical and sociological imaginations of copresence. In: Environment and Planning A 50, 1, 245-255. doi: 10.1177/0308518X17743507

Hägerstrand, T. (1970): What about people in regional science? In: Papers of the Regional Science Association 24, 1, 6-21. doi: 10.1007/BF01936872

Hargadon, A. B.; Bechky, B. A. (2006): When Collections of Creatives Become Creative Collectives: A Field Study of Problem Solving at Work. In: Organization Science 17, 4, 417526. doi: 10.1287/orsc.1060.0200

Harvey, A.; Macnab, P. A. (2000): Who’s up? Global Interpersonal Temporal Accessibility. In: Janelle, D. G., Hodge, D. C. (Hrsg.): Information, Place, and Cyberspace: Issues in Accessibility. Berlin, 147-170. doi: 10.1007/978-3-662-04027-0

Houben, D. (2018): Von Ko-Präsenz zu Ko-Referenz – Das Erbe Erving Goffmans im Zeitalter digitalisierter Interaktion. In: Klemm, M.; Staples, R. (Hrsg.): Leib und Netz. Medienkulturen im digitalen Zeitalter. Wiesbaden, 3-20. doi: 10.1007/978-3658-18863-4_1

Knorr Cetina, K. (2009): The Synthetic Situation: Interactionism for a Global World. In: Symbolic Interaction 32, 1, 61-87. doi: 10.1525/si.2009.32.1.61

Kozinets, R. V. (2009): Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online. London.

Kwan, M.-P. (2000): Interactive geovisualization of activity-travel patterns using three- dimensional geographical information systems: a methodological exploration with a large data set. In: Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 8, 1-6, 185-203. doi: 10.1016/S0968-090X(00)00017-6

Kwan, M.-P. (2001): Cyberspatial Cognition and Individual Access to Information: The Behavioral Foundation of Cybergeography. In: Environment and Planning B 28, 1, 21-37. doi: 10.1068/b2560

Kwan, M.-P. (2004): GIS Methods in Time-Geographic Research: Geocomputation and Geovisualization of Human Activity Patterns. In: Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography 86, 4, 267-280. doi: 10.1111/j.0435-3684.2004.00167.x

Kwan, M.-P. (2007): Mobile Communications, Social Networks, and Urban Travel: Hypertext as a New Metaphor for Conceptualizing Spatial Interaction. In: The Professional Geographer 59, 4, 434-446. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9272.2007.00633.x

Ling, R. (2004): The Mobile Connection. The cell phone’s impact on society. San Francisco.

Maskell, P.; Bathelt, H.; Malmberg, A. (2006): Building global knowledge pipelines: The role of temporary clusters. In: European Planning Studies 14, 8, 997-1013. doi: 10.1080/09654310600852332

Mayring, P. (2008): Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken. Weinheim.

Miller, H. J. (2005): Necessary Space-Time Conditions for Human Interaction. In: Environment and Planning B 32, 3, 381-401. doi: 10.1068/b31154

Miller, H. J. (2017): Time geography and space-time prism. In: Richardson, D.; Castree, N.; Goodchild, M. F.; Kobayashi, A.; Liu, W.; Marston, R. A. (Hrsg.): The International Encyclopedia of Geography. Sussex, 1-19. doi: 10.1002/9781118786352. wbieg0431

Pred, A. (1978): The Impact of Technological and Institutional Innovations on Life Content: Some Time-Geographic Observations. In: Geographical Analysis 10, 4, 345-372.

Schwanen, T. (2007): Matter(s) of interest: artefacts, spacing and timing. In: Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography 89, 1, 9-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0467.2007.00236.x

Schwanen, T.; Kwan, M.-P. (2008): The Internet, mobile phone and space-time constraints. In: Geoforum 39, 3, 1362-1377. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.11.005

Shaw, S.-L.; Yu, H. (2009): A GIS-based time-geographic approach of studying individual activities and interactions in a hybrid physical-virtual space. In: Journal of Transport Geography 17, 2, 141-149. doi: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2008.11.012

Thrift, N. (1977): An introduction to time geography. London. = Concepts and Techniques in Modern Geography 13.

Thulin, E.; Vilhelmson, B. (2018): Bringing the background to the fore. Time-geography and the study of mobile ICTs in everyday life. In: Ellegård, K. (Hrsg.): Time Geography in the Global Context: An Anthology. London, 97-112.

Torre, A.; Rallet, A. (2005): Proximity and Localization. In: Regional Studies 39, 1, 47-59. doi: 10.1080/0034340052000320842

Townsend, A. M. (2000): Life in the real-time city: mobile telephones and urban metabolism. In: Journal of Urban Technology 7, 2, 85-104. doi: 10.1080/713684114

Wellman, B. (2001): Physical Place and Cyberplace: The Rise of Personalized Networking. In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 25, 2, 227-252.

Yu, H.; Shaw, S.-H. (2008): Exploring potential human activities in physical and virtual spaces: a spatio-temporal GIS approach. In: International Journal of Geographical Information Science 22, 4, 409-430. doi: 10.1080/13658810701427569

Zhao, S. (2003): Toward a Taxonomy of Copresence. In: Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 12, 5, 445-455.

Zhao, S.; Elesh, D. (2008): Copresence as ‘being with’. Social contact in online public domains. In: Information, Communication and Society 11, 4, 565-583. doi: 10.1080/13691180801998995

Zook, M.; Dodge, M.; Aoyama, Y.; Townsend, A. (2004): New Digital Geographies: Information, Communication and Place. In: Brunn, S. D.; Cutter, S. L.; Harrington, J. W. (Hrsg.): Geography and Technology. Dordrecht, 155-176. doi: 10.1007/978-1-40202353-8_7




How to Cite

Melchior A, Schiemer B, Grabher G. “Hägerstrand online”: A methodical template for the analysis of space-time trajectories in collaborations. RuR [Internet]. 2020 Feb. 28 [cited 2024 Jul. 15];78(1):21-33. Available from: https://rur.oekom.de/index.php/rur/article/view/286