What is Place?

This blog post looks to examine the term “Place” and what is meant by it. The below will represent my research and literature review of documents and works which help to decipher its meaning.

Place – An Introduction by Tim Cresswell

Cresswell explores the concept of ‘place’ as part of human geography. This was really interesting read for me as it developed notions of place over space and the quantifiable over the immeasurable. Below I have included some quotes which resonated with me in terms of my research question.


“We live in an increasing “placeness” due to the effects of “time-space compression”

Auge 1995, Harvey 1989

With blurring lines between places as a result of globalisation we can all feel a connection through a global community that unifies us in one place.

“Place has to project itself onto the global scale of capital and modernity….place can play a strategic role in a world of hypermobility.”

Tim Cresswell

Space vs Place

“Space becomes place when we get to know it and endow it with value”

Yi-Fu Tuan

To me, this suggests an argument between nature and the man-made. A beach, for example, is just a space until it becomes that place you, ‘had your first kiss’. Then it becomes a place of significance. I suppose that it could also be applied to unvisited or spaces unendowed with meaning. Copenhagen looks a great place to visit, however, until I go and create memories the space will remain fairly insignificant.

Measuring Place

“Given the ubiquity of place, it is a problem that no one knows what they are talking about whan they are talking about place…Place, then, is both simple and complicated.”

Tim Cresswell

Place can easily be identified by its quantifiable features – its population, geography, demographics etc. What is more intriguing, and harder to determine, is the immeasurable aspects. The feeling you get when you are there, its cultural influence and how the passage of time has influenced people’s ideas of its identity.

Working With Place

“…places are not like shoes or autombiles – they do not come out of factories as finished products.”

Tim Cresswell

Place, therefore, is a culmination of cultural practice and a process of reiteration which is never finished.

“People are creating places at all scales and everywhere in a myriad of different ways”

Tim Cresswell

Just because you haven’t personally experienced a space, it doesn’t mean that it is not a place of significance for someone else. I recently visited a food festival in the most culturally diverse section of the Town. It was amazing to experience a small part of the place they have created for themselves and the importance they put on their cultural impact of the place.


“The ability of place to make the past come to life in the present”

Edward Casey

For me, this quote can be expanded to give a deeper commentary on how we experience a place and how that has a future effect on how we continue to experience it. For example, I visited Great Yarmouth up until I was 8 years old. It represented a place of magic, family and fun. Now I work in the place I visited as a child, it still holds that magic for me. This results in a passionate outlook and fondness for Great Yarmouth. Others, who may have grown up here, or moved here out of lack of money or choice may view Great Yarmouth in a completely different way.

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