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Sense of Place

What is your sense of place? What would you like to see your sense of place become? Or, are you pleased with your sense of place? What does sense of place actually mean?

Geographically speaking, sense of place is how one views their surroundings; their community, their town or city. It's a psychological feeling of well-being, comfort and familiarity as well as beauty.

When one is in Greektown, Detroit, there is a sense of place. Granted, it is basically just one street in the midst of downtown, but when you are there...you know it! There are the bakeries and the restaurants and the bars and the crowds. Greektown Casino is there too -- does anyone remember Trapper's Alley?

Detroit is a huge city and there are some pockets which can give you a sense of place.

Smaller communities have a downtown which gives one a sense of place. Downtown Plymouth is and example. It has the park and the theater and the restaurants and bars and shops. Plus, there are art shows and ice sculpture festivals and community-centric activities on a regular basis.

A sense of place should be in your very own neighborhood too. Are there block parties? Or is there a neighborhood watch patrol? What about the local high school's athletic events? Remember the black-out of 2003? A lot of neighborhoods came together and people were able to get to know each other because of generator sharing or large barbeques so the food in the freezers wouldn't go to waste or because it was so hot, you slept outside and talked (in hushed tones because the sound really carried) with your neighbors who were doing the same.

A sense of place is a sense of knowing. Even in a strange area you may visit. Say, for instance, the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. When you walk or take the shuttle there, you know you can find a theater or a boutique or a restaurant or an art gallery within a short distance. And that's what a sense of place is -- a sense of knowing what to expect in a short distance.

So, what is your immediate sense of place? What would you like it to be? How can you implement changes? It can be on your block or through your community center or town hall but, if you would like to have a sense of knowing, of comfort of beauty in your specific place, maybe you should start something. A community garden or a farmer's market or a weekly neighborhood bicycle ride or free yoga sessions in the park or a bottle drive for a cause needful of funds in your community...you can do it! Make your area desirable to be a part of, make it unique and make it beautiful!