As explained, the experience of travel and movement is subjective, but so is our sense of space. The way we perceive our surroundings depends on our reactions to many sensory stimuli — the light, sounds and smells can be as important as the actual physical parameters of the space itself. In fact, these stimuli can be so interdependent that one may cancel or compensate for the effect of another and thus, in combination, form the kind of experience we come to associate with a particular space. It is equally difficult to remove our personal preconceptions, our social and cultural conditioning from the way we view spaces. This is especially true in the perception of our most immediate space — the room we inhabit.
When describing places and spaces, there is a frequently used figure of speech ‘there is no room’. What we mean by that is that the place is full and therefore inaccessible. Hence, whenever we talk about having space, we are in fact talking about personal space, the room that available. The inaccessible, occupied, full space acts as its opposite — no space. Naturally ‘the room’ is always there, and the space is everywhere and essentially the same, but the categorisation of "having" and "lacking" is an effective means for describing our subjective experience of narrowness and vastness.
The first thing I notice when travelling to a new city, other than the landscape, architecture and other physical parameters, is the traffic — vehicles and people — the part of the environment that is made out of motion. Our whole sense of space is inevitably affected by this, its openness and limitations. Depending on the density and direction of this flow, streets can feel wider or narrower, larger or smaller, closed or open. The architecture of public spaces also affects the speed of travelling and consequently the sense of distance. Notice how different a kilometre walk on a hiking track can seem compared to cycling through an old town or driving a car in a multi-million city.