Changing Places 1

Place - the web of characteristics, flows and perceptions that are all attached to a specific location.

A place can be thought of as a location which could be plotted on a map or defined by a grid reference. For example, for London, its latitude is 51.5074N and its longitude is 0.1278W.

The location alone doesn't tell us anything about the place itself; just where it is.

Geographers look into:

  • Its location.
  • The physical characteristics of the landscape.
  • The human characteristics, including the human features of the landscape.
  • Flows, e.g. people, money, ideas, resources.
  • The sense of place.

All aspects of places and the meanings they have are constantly changing; they are dynamic:

  • Over long periods of time, the physical characteristics can change, for example, a river migrates. The physical characteristics can change over short periods of time, for example, after an eruption of a volcano, it alters the landscape.
  • Human characteristics can change over whole lifetimes, for example, as new people are born in a place and others die. Human characteristics can change over short periods of time, for example, as people migrate in and out of a place.
  • The flows in and out of a place change, for example, flows of money could change when a multinational corporation invests in a new factory or decides to close an existing one.
  • The sense of place individuals or groups have may change, for example, the places a person plays in as a child, will not have the same meanings to that person when they return there as an adult.

Different groups or individuals may also have a different sense of the same place. For example, one person may think of a city centre as a place of excitement and opportunity, whilst another…

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