Can we reimagine Eden as a place, or is it forever subdivided?

This is the ninth and final instalment of my ‘sense of place’ series. Today, I reflect on the themes that I have covered during the series. I wonder: what would the urban planning profession, and urban policy development look like, if mainstream society valued places more, and understood that when we damage places, we damage …

Understanding colonial vs Indigenous conceptions of ‘place’ (Article #8 in the ‘Sense of Place’ series)

Left: Google Maps identifies the house from ‘Kath and Kim’ as a cultural landmark. Searching Google Maps for Indigenous Cultural Landmarks yields almost nothing. Right: Efforts to protect sacred birthing trees, Djab Wurrung country, Victoria. I write to you from the unceded lands of the Taungurung People of the Kulin Nation, in central Victoria. I …

Opportunities to connect ‘Sense of Place’ and Liveability research (Article #6 in the ‘Sense of Place’ Series)

Prof Trevor Hancock’s Healthy City Model (1993): A vanguard of Liveability[1] In this article I discuss some of the impacts of the WHO Healthy Cities program, launched in 1986, in stimulating research to document and report on people’s relationships to place. I link this to contemporary research, led from Melbourne, Australia, which connects place, health, …

Selling ‘Place’ as a Product (Article #5 in the ‘Sense of Place’ series)

Taken on my arrival at Disneyland, September 2003. One enters Disneyland via ‘Mainstreet USA’ – an homage to neighbourhood streetscapes lost to placeless urban sprawl. Mainstreet USA is built at 3/4 scale to enhance the visitor’s sense of intimacy. In this article, I discuss how ‘sense of place’ is used to sell real estate by …

‘Sense of place’: A term requiring stronger policy definition (Sense of Place article #4)

Image credits: (Above). ‘Care for Country’ by Maggie-Jean Douglas – a Gubbi Gubbi artist from South East Queensland. The 2021 National NAIDOC Poster incorporating the Aboriginal Flag (licensed by WAM Clothing Pty Ltd) and the Torres Strait Islander Flag (licensed by the Torres Strait Island Council). (Right) Jensen Plus. Conceptual detail from the Parkes Special …

How do we define our relationships with ‘place’?

In this article, I will discuss how ’sense of place’ is actually a broad and encompassing term that consists of four interconnected dimensions: (a) place attachment, (b) place dependence, (c) place identity, and (d) psychological sense of community. Wisdom sits in places. It’s like water that never dries up. You need to drink water to …

Wherever we are on this planet, we are always ‘somewhere’ — even during COVID. (‘Sense of Place’ article #2)

The COVID pandemic has brought into sharp relief humans’ complicated relationships with place and space. ‘Lockdown’ has separated many of us from the places and homes where we normally freely would visit or spend our time, along with the services and amenities on which we have come to rely, and the people we love who …

The ‘Sense of Place’ Series: Opportunities for reflection, research, and practice

The term ‘sense of place’ is so widely used in popular discourse that it has become something of a trope. It is used to sell everything from package holidays to tract housing. However, it is rarely defined, let alone documented or valued as core to human quality of life. The multiple and accelerating environmental and …