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Working toward the placing or re-placing of our planet, to becoming native again, to returning to old principles of place as well as exploring the potential of new ideas and technologies for strengthening and sustaining places, must be a primary task in the years ahead for planners and citizens alike. It can be done, and I believe we can make progress in fundamentally strengthening our commitments to place as a means to creating a more sustainable world. C H A P T E R Place Basics: Concepts, Research, Literature 2 Our daily lives are not played out in an intellectual realm or virtual world, but rather in very real and tangible places—environments, neighborhoods, cities.
1 | Venetian campi, or small squares, each have their own special quality and flavor, and serve important civic and social functions for the surrounding neighborhood. Campo San Luca, shown here, is one of the most delightful. 27 28 N AT I V E T O N O W H E R E agricultural landscapes. They can be large (New York City or the Florida Everglades) or rather small and confined (Natural Bridge in Virginia, or an urban courtyard or urban space, such as the Plaza in Santa Fe). An interesting or unique neighborhood has its own quality of place, a function of its buildings, people, and environment, but it is also shaped by, and in turn helps to shape, the broader town and region in which it lies.
Strong connections and commitments to place will help to inoculate against indifference to landscape and environmental effects and impacts, wherever they occur. Strengthening place and rebuilding commitments to the local realm will not be easy, and we will have to overcome some difficult cultural, social, and economic obstacles. The busy ways we lead our lives and the extent to which we are increasingly disconnected physically and emotionally from our physical, biological, and geocultural contexts are much of the problem.