I remove all downwar growing branches. I remove longer branches when short ones pop. And in summer I remove all the old needles, and cut back to some 8 new needles on each branchlet. Even so, there will be a point where I need to clean up the main branches. But not for another few years. This year I might have to rework the top though. It is getting heavy
I am not sure what you mean with negative space. That sound like the absence of space.
But in general, all downward growth is removed yes. Not specifically to create space between pads, but because it looks better. Looking at the picture I can tell it needed a cleaniup before taking a pic.