Changing Places 5

Places have meaning to the people that know them; this is their sense of those places.

Different people, or groups of people, can attach different meanings to the same places, e.g. different people may think of the same place as beautiful or unattractive, exciting or boring, stressful or peaceful.

How people feel about a place is often dependent on their experience of that place, e.g. people may feel like insiders or outsiders in a place depending on whether their experience of that place has been positive or negative.

How people feel about places can also be affected by how places have been represented to them.

The representation of place is how individuals, or organisations, such as businesses or councils, portray places they know about to others.

People or organisations can represent places in different ways depending on what their perspective is. For example:

  • Individuals who are proud to come from a place may present it to others in a positive way, whilst individuals who have had a bad experience of a place may present it negatively to others.
  • Organisations, such as tourism companies or local councils, may present places positively as they stand to gain from how the places are perceived. Newspapers may choose to focus on the negative aspects of a place in a business there, whilst negative aspects of a place in circumstances where it may help them to sell more copies.

Meanings and representations of places are important as they can change how people behave towards those places, e.g. positive feelings about a place may make a person decide to go on holiday or invest in a business there, whilst negative feelings may make them avoid that place.

Meanings and representations of places are also important as many people generate their identity based on the places they feel connected to.

Many groups influence our perceptions of place:

Some groups try to influence people's sense of place, or even create new meanings for particular places, so that they can change people's behaviour towards those places:

  • Governments, both nationally and locally, might do this to attract people or investment to particular places.
  • Corporate bodies might do this to generate profit, or because they have been set up for a specific purpose, e.g. VisitBritain is an agency set up to promote tourism to the UK.
  • Community or local groups might try to change the perception of their place to improve the local economy or the lives of local people, local people and business owners in Ludlow promote the town through organising a food festival every year - this associates Ludlow with good food and attracts visitors to the area.

Here are three of main strategies used to alter perceptions of place:

  • Place marketing is how places are 'sold' like products to consumers - the people who will potentially visit, move to the area or invest money there. Marketing companies may be…

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kiran_

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Really helpful! Thanks