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I'm looking for a word that means the study or practice of the efficient use of space, something ending -omics. I used to know it but I've got ergonomics stuck in my brain and that's not quite right.

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  • Agronomics? The branch of economics dealing with the distribution, management, and productivity of land. The word economy itself could well be coaxed to fit within the boundaries of your requirements. Mar 7 '13 at 17:32
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Although not pertaining solely to efficient use of space, the word logistics is relevant (emphasis added; commas as found):

(operations) The process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services and related information from their point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of satisfying customer requirements.

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From Wikipedia:

The English words "economy" and "economics" can be traced back to the Greek words οἰκονόμος (i.e. "one who manages a household", a composite word derived from οἴκος ("house") and νέμω ("manage; distribute")) and οἰκονομία ("household management"). Leoni Schmidt Playing With the image: in conversation with margaret Roberts

Since

eco-nomics = management/planning of eco,

You would be looking for a technical jargon for spatial management/planning.

If you are allowed the liberty of coining a new term, it could be

spationomics

Otherwise, you might have to rely on some existing mouthful terms

  • spatio-economic efficiency
  • spatio-efficiency
  • spatiologic-efficiency
  • spatiological planning

Henri Lefebvre coined the term “spatiology” to involve both physical space and social space. As a Marxist, Lefebvre was interested in the production of spatiology within a modern, urbanising capitalism. He attempted to trace generative moments in its production and for him “space becomes redescribed not as a dead, inert thing or object, but as organic and fluid and alive; it has a pulse, it palpates, it flows and collides with other spaces.” - Leoni Schmidt - Playing With the image: in conversation with margaret Roberts

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The Greek for place or space is χώρος, which suggests choronomics.

However, this has specific uses in biology/zoology which may render it inapplicable in other situations. I had to resort to a Russian source; it's not listed in OED.

Choronomic
adj. [Gr. choros, place; nomos, place or condition for living]
The external influences effecting [sic] animals, such as geographical or regional environment.

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Here's an example of tessellation - the careful juxtaposition of shapes in a pattern. xx

My understanding is that tessellation is of great interest not just to artists such as M. C. Escher (who produced that one), but also to physicists and mathematicians such as Roger Penrose. And doubtless biologists, since DNA is very much concerned with protein-folding and shape-fitting.

So if OP wants a word relevant to an active area of scientific enquiry, tessellation is probably the one to go for. I don't think architects and [real-]estate agents have a technical word for how they manage to create/describe "spacious" living accommodation in tiny houses.

For a more "informal/quirky" term, most people would probably understand Tardisification (by which means Doctor Who's Tardis is made much larger on the inside than the outside). But as of now I doubt you'd find that one in any dictionaries.

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    Also, I can't resist tetristerone - the (usually female) hormone which governs the ability to efficiently pack multiple objects of differing shapes, sizes, and colors (as they can be confusing) into a box or other container leaving minimal empty space. It's the non-scientific version of Tardisification, that allows some women to have more in their handbag than the average man can fit in the boot of his car. Mar 7 '13 at 19:04
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Ergonomics is defined as human engineering, and often related to the efficient use of space. A pull-out bed or a folding desk could be described as economical designs.

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Perhaps agoranomics? Agoraphobia is the fear of wide open spaces and according to etymologyonline it comes from the Greek agora "open space".

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  • What? Did I get downvoted just because I made up a word? A completely sensible word. Man, I bet the same crap happened to the Bard too :(
    – Octopus
    Mar 8 '13 at 7:32
  • Would the items in my suitcase get traumatised by agoraphobia when I practice "agornomics" on them to pack as much stuffs as possible in as small a luggage bag that the airline would then permit me to store in overhead bins rather than having me check the bag in as baggage? LOL - didn't vote you down but your answer is hilarious. Mar 10 '13 at 6:50
  • @Blessed Geek: No, that would be claustrophobia; the fear of cramped spaces.
    – Octopus
    Mar 10 '13 at 7:16
  • You are right - got a little mixed up. Mar 10 '13 at 7:26

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