people anticipate place in different ways. I think place is a connection people
generate with the surroundings though a collection of characteristics, and it
is a way to make a location special to people with special meanings behind it.
In Homeland – a
site of resistance by Bell Hooks, she expressed the feeling of fear and the
sense of helplessness while travelling to her grandmother’s home. During her
journey there, she felt unsafe walking on the roads and experienced social exclusion.
She was deprived the right to enjoy public space due to racism and sexism,
because she was constantly in fear of violence verbally or physically. On the
contrary, her grandmother’s house was a haven, for her to hide herself away
from danger and fear. The process of traveling to her grandma’s assigned
meaning to place, just as she stated in the article “…… Oh! that feeling of safety, of
arrival, of homecoming when we finally reached the edges of her yard, when we
could see the soot black face of our grandfather, Daddy Gus, sitting in his
chair on the porch, smell his cigar, and rest on his lap.” (Hooks, 1952). Through
her personal experience with the journey to her grandmother’s house, just by
seeing the edges of her yard was sign of relief. Her personal experience gave
the house meaning and content, making it no longer a concrete, but a safe haven
Through vision, taste, smell and touching
that occurred within personal experiences, these unique characteristics often assigns
meaning to place. The smell of grandfather’s cigar was also a sense of
belonging and safety, which played the same role as the house. Like Tuan mentioned in his article, anything
placed within a home can have meanings assigned to it with the sublimation of
experience. The bed, the dining table or anything within the house can have a
meaning behind it. People do not experience abstract space; they
experience places. A place can appeal to multiple emotions, it could be the
warmth of home along with the stress of dense urban living. It could also be
fear of home, when people experience domestic violence within the bordered concrete.
The meanings are very experience based. I believe the sense of place is the way
we communicate to places which influences our well-being, how we describe and
interact with a place, what we value in a place. Specific meanings of place can
reflect our historical and experiential knowledge of a place and helps us
imagine its more sustainable future.
In my own
understanding, a map is a visual description of a specific area of land. Maps
characterizes key feature of the territory, which can be described in both
visual and graphical ways. It condenses the landscape’s uncertainty into a
random and simplified flat compass. I consider maps as a surface without depth.
broadened my knowledge from the readings was the new Milford Map, how it serves
the purpose of a tool to recall memories. Places such as detailed buildings,
roads, powerlines, cemeteries, golf courses, parks, railroads-all are accurately
placed on the map. This allows people to superimpose own experiences on the
map, hence creating the sense of belonging and connection. I had come to an
understanding that a place is instantaneous, detailed, specific, fixed and has
its own unique form. Personal experiences may add multiple and various emotions
towards a place, with specific and unique meanings behind them.