As a planner in training I am often instructed to consider the objective and moreformal elements of land use practices. The sometimes clinical fashion in which weanalyse the concept of place and physical elements of space, inevitably shape our primary opinion when interpreting time-space and space place relations.My experience of place has been an ephemeral one, associated with geographicdislocation as a result of moving on a series of occasions to pursue academicventures. The levels of existence and affiliation with a place depending on therelationship a person shares with their respective location, has a great deal to do withplace based experiences. Experiences become far more defined and lasting if onecritically observes their surroundings and establishes a connection with the peopleand cultural practices relative to the place of living.The purpose of this paper is to discuss the differing views of place. In doing so anattempt is made to shed light on the becoming, and change of place as a process,outlining key factors in the building of space-place relationships. The materiality of place is considered where both subjective and more physical objective componentsof place are explored.The interconnectedness of place and the fluid or porous boundaries betweengeographically defined spaces are explored. The aim here is to investigate thedifferent scales at which the concept of place operates, together with the ability of anestablished place to be receptive to external globalising influences.As a point of departure the paper considers modern planning literature and itsrelation to the current place-making agenda. Adopting a more political, clinicalstandpoint. The dissection of place is analysed in terms of the potential for physicaldevelopment and its direct relation to socio-economic betterment.
Place as a process
The growth and development of socially responsive (urban) centres is better understood when it is appreciated that space and the becoming of place is a processnot an end in itself. The principles for the construction of social and symbolic spacesand the ‘mechanisms of reproduction’ for these same spaces, must be appreciatedwhen separating and in turn finding definitive theories to the way in which spaces,symbolic and social are created. The character, internal structure and formalidentities of these spaces becomes clearer with the advent of collective histories(Calhoun et. al. 2002 p.268). Throughout time the growth and development of socialspaces and the built fabric emerges from a palimpsest of historic layers of existence.Therefore, the construction of place goes beyond a single ubiquitous architecturaldiscourse or course political action, as the passing of time causes a constantreframing of how place is defined and delivered (Moore 2001 cited in Kelbaugh 2008p.345).Prior to further investigation into the building of place specific identities it is importantto mention that although the social aspect of place-making is considered as anintegral component of spatial definition it by no means circumscribes the totality of
Geographer John Agnew argues that modernist thought devalues thetraditional concept of place; where modern social science has blurred the distinctionbetween
Agnew continues in stating that the modern view of Community aims to encompass both “a physical setting for social relations” and a