The end of Place as We Know It? Attempts at Conceptualization

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Issue: Volume 4, Issue 1, 2010

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This article is an attempt to join in the ongoing in recent years debate on the conceptualization of place in times of global changes, which on the one hand have freed the place from its limitation and confinement, and on the other hand have weakened its basic function of social creation of meanings, of sense of community, of existential security, of ingraining in and of trust. In the situation of the increasingly more frequent appropriation of the places by corporations, means of transportation and information, the ideal of place, although it departs from its primary physicality moving to the sphere of imagination effectively fuelled by the marketing industry, still remains the fundamental environment of most people’s everyday life. I believe that a challenge of our times is a revision of various circles’ attitudes towards negligence of everyday culture, whose significant part seems to be the place – a live tissue of social relationships and collective identities. However, some architects and sociologists underline unanimously that there is interdependence between designing the urban environment and social production of place. From the sociological point of view place is more than just the urban form. The places have to be conceived as the collection of variously interrelated spaces (physically and virtually), enabling different activities. In the times of globalization, the places do not disappear from the surface of the earth, but they rather undergo the reconfiguration process that consists in developing the exchange with the other places. The selection of the issues in the text, of which the author is fully aware, does not exhaust the discussed problems, although they are not chosen at random.

 

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