Sense of place, I think, is a number of characteristics that makes a place special — the human experience in a landscape, the local knowledge and folklore.
Uniqueness offers a sense of place. Identity and character recognized by a visitor and valued by residents. Writers think about this subject often. Wendell Berry said, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”
People suffer through bad times — hurricanes, fires — and return to rebuild, as they feel they belong to the place as much as the place belongs to them. Wallace Stegner said, “The knowledge of place that comes from working in it, making a living from it, suffering from its catastrophes, loving its mornings or evenings.”
This is what writers, poets, songwriters specialize in — the painting of a scenery, the attachment to emotion through a sense of place. Hundreds of years later, people go back, searching for their great-grandparents home for a sense of connection to the place to which they also belong. Searching for a feeling, a story.
It was extremely important to paint a sense of place for Zoe Sinclair when I wrote Pine Vale into Stranger or Friend. She feels lost and hurt in many ways, having just returned to a complicated place, yet Pine Vale is home with all the good and bad home offers.
Sure, we can be citizens of the world, but home, in many shifting forms, remains deeply anchored. Our new way of life no longer offers a deep sense of place, does it? We spend so much time online, in offices, moving around, perhaps slowly foregoing a connection to a unique place.
Is the sense of place becoming a lost sense?
— Image: candorlandforsale.blogspot.com