8.1- The Nature And Importance Of Places Flashcards Preview

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What is place?

Simply a location with meaning- places can be meaningful to individuals in ways that are personal or subjective. Places can a,so be meaningful at a social or cultural level and these meanings may be shared by different groups of people


Geographers refer to what 3 aspects of place?

- location
- locale
- sense of place


What is location? Give an example

‘Where’ a place is for example the co-ordinates on a map- Glastonbury is in the county of Somerset located 23 miles south of Bristol
- latitude: 51.456N
- longitude: 2.7144W


What is locale? Give an example

The place where something happens or is set, or that has particular events associated with it. For example, Glastonbury has its own unique character- it is home to a number of visitor attractions including Glastonbury Tor and Glastonbury festival. The National Trust describes Glastonbury Tor as being “one of the most spiritual sites in the country with its pagan beliefs still very much celebrated.”


What is sense of place? Give an example

This refers to the subjective and emotional attachment people have to a place. People develop a ‘sense of place’ through experience and knowledge of a particular area. For example, Glastonbury is a place of great spiritual importance for people interested in paganism and the religious connections. For others, Glastonbury evokes emotions about the internationally famous music festival which takes place most years at Worthy Farm on the edge of Glastonbury


What’s a key difference between location and locale?

Locale, unlike location, takes into account the effect that people have on their setting; in terms of locale a place is shaped by the people, cultures and customs within it


Theoretical approach to place- what are the 3 main approaches?

1- descriptive approach
2- social constructionist approach
3- phenomenological approach


What is the descriptive approach?

The idea that the world is a set of places and each place can be studied and is distinct


What is the social constructionist approach?

Sees place as a product of a particular set of social processes occurring at a particular place e.g. Trafalgar Square was built to commemorate British naval victory in the 1800s can be understood as a place of empire and colonialism


What is the phenomenological approach?

It is not interested in the unique characteristics of a place or why it was constructed, instead, it is interested in how an individual person experiences place. Ideas include:
- it is through human perception and experiences we get to know places
- the degree of attachment, involvement and concern that a person or group has for its place is critical in understanding of a place


People define themselves through

A sense of place and by living in places and carrying out a range of everyday practices there- a person-place relationship is developed


What are some examples of the importance of place?

- promotion of place is crucial in marketing holiday destinations
- food items are marked in terms of where the food is sourced
- popularity of events may be linked to the place they happen in e.g. Glastonbury music festival


The importance of place can be explored by looking at its impact on 3 aspects:

- identity
- belonging
- well-being

The placemaking movement, which has expanded rapidly in recent years places great emphasis on all 3 aspects


What is the placemaking movement?

The deliberate shaping of an environment to facilitate social interaction and improve a community’s quality of life


Who suggested that the depth of feeling (attachment) we have for a place is influenced by the depth of our knowledge and understanding of it (this attachment increases with age as we learn more about our home)?

Yi-Fu Tuan


Research suggests that our attachment to a place is influenced by the quality or intensity

Of experience we have there, so the more enjoyable the experience or the greater degree to study we feel safe in a place (where all our needs are met) the more we feel attached to it; it becomes ‘home’


Explain the impact of place on identity- give an example

Our sense of place/ the meaning we give to a location can be so strong that it featured as a central part of our identity e.g. “I am European”, “I’m a Yorkshire man through and through”, “I am Indian” etc


Comment on these statements of identity with place: “I am European”, “I’m a Yorkshire man through and through”, “I am Indian”

- the people identify with places at different scales
- these statements could have been made by the same person- they may think of their identity in layers or by having different facets


Give examples of how changes in the nature of places (social, economic or environmental) may affect people and their identity

- if a major employer or industry fails, those made redundant will miss the social interactions associated with the locale of the workplace and must re-evaluate their role in society

-Football fans whose confidence takes a hit when their national team loses in a World Cup


What are the scales that identify can be evident at?

- localism
- regionalism
- nationalism


What is localism?

An affection for or emotional ownership of a particular place. Localism rarely manifests itself in a political sense but can be demonstrated in ‘nimbyism’ (not in my back yard) which occurs when people are reluctant to having their local area affected by development


What is regionalism?

Consciousness of, and loyalty to, a distinct region with a population that shares similarities


What is nationalism?

Loyalty and devotion to a nation which creates a sense of national consciousness. Patriotism could be considered an example of a sense of place


Historically, people have identified more with their local place or community because

They have greater knowledge of this area and people


Many periods identify with place at a national level and tbhis is usually strengthened by

-a common language
- national anthem
- flag
- through cultural and sporting events

e.g. resurgence in the Welsh language and culture has highlighted s stronger national identity among the Welsh in recent years


Religion can be used to foster a sense of identity in place. At local level

Churches, mosques and synagogues are places where people from the same religious identity come together to worship. There may also be larger sacred places such as Bethlehem or Mecca where people go on pilgrimages


The power of place in political protests has arisen recently- for example, in London

The occupy movement, campaigning against social and economic equality around the world camped outside St Paul’s cathedral in the financial heart of the city; similarly recognisable sites were chosen in other parts of the world as the occupy movement relies on the power of the place to attract attention and lodge itself into people’s memories


Who argued that the character of a place can only be seen and understood by linking that place to places and beyond?

Massey concluded “what we need is a global sense of the local, a global sense of place”


Some argue that globalisation has made place less important as forges of global capitalism have eroded local cultures and produced identical or _______ places



What is homogenisation?

The process of making things uniform or similar leading to places becoming indistinct from one another


Globalisation and consequent homogenisation can be seen through

The increased presence of global chains such as Starbucks in high streets all over the world


What are James Kunstker, an American novelist’s opinions of globalisation of place?

He has talked of a geography of nowhere, where processes such as urban sprawl have led to community-less cities with identical shopping malls, car parks and roads. He argues that “every place is like no other in particular”


In the UK ‘clone town’ has been used to describe settlements where the high street is

Dominated by chain stores


The term ‘placelessness’ has been used to describe homogenised and clone town settlements- what does this mean?

The loss of the uniqueness of a place in the cultural landscape so that one place looks like the next


What are some effects of globalisation?

- some locals places and cultures are resisting the power of globalisation e.g. anti-costa campaign in Devon (2012)
- multinational companies are having to increasingly adapt to the local marketplace- glocalisation e.g. McDonald’s franchise which are located across 100 countries- in Hindu countries for example, pork has been removed from the menu


Regarding localisation of place, place has become a

Political symbol for people fighting against capitalism. One response has been a greater focus on ‘local’ place and the promotion of local goods and services e.g. introduction of Bristol pound in 2012 proved so successful that residents have been able to use the local currency to make council tax payments


In the context of place, what is belonging?

To belong means to be part of the community. Belonging is increasingly seen as one of the key features that makes a place sustainable and successful- regeneration schemes include a focus on how people feel about where they live


The extent to which you may feel a sense of belonging to a place can be influenced by a number of factors:

- age
- gender
- sexuality
- socio-economic status
- religion
- level of education


Race and ethnicity can also be linked to belonging- as globalisation and

Migration have increased, many places, particularly cities, have become more ethically and culturally diverse


Although London is often referred to as one of the world’s most multicultural cities there are still ethnic clusters including

China Town in Soho and Banglatown in and around Spitalfields; these have tended to develop with dedicated shops and services for reason of mutual support and cultural preservation


Explain the impact of place on well-being

- individuals have different views about what makes a place great
- there are however featured that are generally accepted to be more important in promoting happiness and well-being, but different factors will be important to different groups of people
- as with sense of belonging: age, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, religion etc will influence people’s feelings and perceptions towards different places


(What makes a great place?) the place diagram is one of the tools the project for public spaces has developed to

Help communities evaluate places. The inner ring (sociability, uses and activities, access and linkages, comfort and image) represents a place’s key attributes, the idle ring its tangible qualities and the outer ring its measurable data e.g. traffic data, property values and crime statistics.


Discuss ‘in place’/‘out of place’?

- the notion that people, activities and events can be seen as ‘in place’ or ‘out of place’
- ultimately, people have a stronger relationship with the places they are familiar with
- this is why people living within a place are more likely to oppose developments in it- nimbyism (not in my back yard)


Who said: “to be inside a place is to belong to it and identify with it and the more profoundly inside you are, the stronger is the identity with the place”?



Understanding the notion of place in the production of insiders and outsiders is important as the politics of countries becomes focused on



What’s an example of an ‘out of place’ action?

Crime- Tim Cresswell argues that people, things and practices are often strongly linked to particular places and when these links are broken, or someone has acted ‘out of place’ they are deemed to have committed something of a crime e.g. graffiti on historic building or littering in an area of outstanding beauty


Increasingly we are seeing groups of people being treated as outsiders, this has included:

- travellers
- protestors
- LGBTQ individuals


Explain how gender has been important in people as ‘outsiders?’

‘a woman’s place is in the home’ is a stereotypical societal view held by many in the 20th century and affected the types of places women felt comfortable


What kinds of groups may make people feel out of place?

The dominant groups who have the economic, social and cultural power in the location or within a society


Different people will perceive places in different ways
Positionality refers to factors such as:

socio-economic status

Which influence how we perceive different places


The significance that an individual or group attaches to a particular place may be influenced by feelings of belonging or alienation, a sense of being an

insider or an outsider- Some places and regions hold great significance for some people, but not for others e.g. Mecca


Place attachment develops through positive experiences associated with a place, but not everyone has the same experiences. Experiences of place change as

we get older e.g. local playground


A group of people often referred to as ‘out of place’ are migrants.
Refugees are



What has heavily influenced migrants to feel out of place?

In the UK, media reports and anti-migration groups often use metaphors associated with water, blood and disease to describe the influx of refugees. This negative terminology has led to the presence of migrants being met with resistance and calls from some people to protect ‘our place’ and ‘our culture’ against people who do not ‘belong’ here


What are the characteristics of an insider?

- place of birth= born in x or their parents born there

- status, citizenship etc= permanent resident, holds a passport for country x, can work, vote and claim benefits if necessary

- language capability= fluent in local language

- social interactions: behaviour and understanding= conforms to social norms of the area and understands unspoken rules of this place

- state of mind= Safe, secure, happy- feels ‘at home’ or ‘in place’ in country x


What are the characteristics of an outsider?

- place of birth = not born in x, they are an immigrant and/or their parents are immigrants

- status, citizenship etc= may not be able to work, vote or claim benefits and may be a temporary visitor so may not necessarily hold a passport for country x, perhaps just a visa- may be travelling for business, in search of work or seeking asylum

- language capability= not fluent, does not understand local idioms

- social interactions: behaviour and understanding= frequently makes faux paus or misunderstands social interactions

- state of mind= homesick, alienated, isolated, feels ‘out of place’


In Tower Hamlets, London the percentage of Bangladeshi (Asian / Asian British) origin larger than White British percentage in 2011 census

So local residents of London despite being an ‘insider’ in the majority of London May feel like an ‘outsider’ in Banglatown for example


What are the categories of place?

- near/ far places
- experienced/media place


Explain near and far places

- term ‘near’ and ‘far’ have several potential meanings when it comes to place
- could simply refer to geographical distance between places
- equally could describe the emotional connection with a particular place and how comfortable a person feels within that place
- some places feel more familiar than others artsy due to personal experience but also because of frequent representational exposure


The key idea about geographically ‘near’ places do not automatically

Foster identities of familiarity and belonging and that in these days of globalised culture, travel and media, far-off places are not automatically strange, uncomfortable and different


What is the key difference between experienced and media places?

Experienced places are those that person has spent time in, whereas media places are those that the person has only ready about or seen on film


The ‘reality’ of a place can be far different to that put across by the media and this is most closely seen through the portrayal of

Rural places


Explain how rural areas have been portrayed for a long time?

For a long time, rural areas have been ‘idyll-ized’ and countryside living has been stereotyped as involving a happy, healthy, tight-knit community experiencing few of problems of urban life


Geographer Paul Cloke has looked extensively at rurality and argues that

Magazines such as Country Life, and children’s books such as Postman Pat seek to reinforce these idyllic images by focusing on more nostalgic images of the countryside


Stereotypical images of rural living permeate but the idyllic image put forward by the media and advertising companies hides a host of problems:

- unemployment and underemployment
- scarce availability of affordable housing
- reduction in public transport services

Have all sought to disadvantage low-income households in rural areas
- rural homelessness also been hidden from the media glare


In contrast to how country living is idyll-ized, cities are often stereotyped in a negative way:

- economic and social deprivation
- homelessness
- vandalism and pollution
Are just some of the images routinely ascribed to British cities by the media

- it is true that some of these problems are more prevalent in urban areas, but it is wrong to assume that all cities are the same- successful regeneration of urban areas has made city-living far more attractive in recent decades


What are 2 key factors contributing to the character of place?

- exogenous factors
- endogenous factors


The character of place refers to

The physical and human that help to distinguish it from another place


What are exogenous factors?

Refers to the relationship of one place with another place and the external factors which affect this. The demographic, socio-economic and cultural characteristics of a place are shaped by shifting flows of people, resources, money and investment


What are endogenous factors?

In the context of place, this refers to the characteristics of place itself or factors which have originated internally- this includes aspects such as: location, physical geography, land use including infrastructure and social and economic characteristics such as population size and employment rates


What are some general factors that affect the character of place?

- socio-economic factors: employment opportunities, educational attainment and opportunities, income, health, crime rates etc

- cultural factors: heritage, religion and language

- political factors: role and strength of local council and/or resident groups

- the built environment: land use, age and type of housing, building density, building materials

- location: urban or rural, proximity to other settlement details, physical features e.g. rivers etc

- demographic features: population size and structure

- physical geography: relief, altitude, drainage, soil and rock type


Explain the role of exogenous factors over time

- some places may have had an industrial story and others may have developed as agricultural places or tourist resorts
- when places started to grow, most only had one distinct function; this might be availability of natural resources, natural routeways or trading centres
- as the place developed, exogenous (external) factors became more important and the importance of the initial functions diminished as technological advances occurred


How has de-industrialisation changed the character of places?

De-industrialisation has brought about wholescale change in the economic structure of places and this has led to unemployment and urban decline in cities with a traditional manufacturing base


How has globalisation changed the character of places?

Mining, steel and shipbuilding towns have had to adapt to the challenges posed by globalisation


On a local scale, the construction of a new housing estate may be seen to affect the character of place as

Land use changes and ‘newcomers’ move into the area


The purchase of second homes in seaside resorts and _______ in cities are also thought by many to bring about change in the character and community of places



We might consider the impact of international migration as a factor that affects the character of place as

People from all over the world have settled in places around the UK, sometimes forming diasporas and definitely creating a more multicultural society