4 Place attachment and exclusion

When discussing place attachment and meanings also the possible negative side of place identity and attachment should be reviewed. Manzo (2003*) has referred that emotional connections to places can be shaped by negative experiences of omission as well. The politics of belonging involves also decision about who belongs to the place and who does not Malone (1999*). Manzo (2003*) points out that some people’s sense of rootedness and belonging is obtained by excluding others.

This kind of exclusion can exist over various levels. Paasi (2001*); Fried (2000*) and Devine-Wright and Lyons (1997*) have given examples of exclusion in wider scale. They all have claimed that belief in deep, fixed link between a specific group and territory may lead to process of social exclusion and othering. Fried (2000*) has stated that the extreme commitment to culturally-identified territories can lead to the efforts to obtain hegemonic control. Paasi (2001) discusses the problem of migration politics and refugee problem in the light of place identity. Fried (2000) notes that place attachment in its extreme cases can entail territorial competition, warfare, tribal conflict, mass murder and even genocide. According to Manzo (2003*) those conflicts partly rely on the question whose memories and history is preserved in places and why. This especially comes into question if some territories, memorial landscapes or communal places are shared by various groups (Entrikin, 2002*) and each of the groups associates with these places different values and feelings (Devine-Wright and Lyons, 1997).

Malone (1999) has discussed in more detail the exclusion of people from places during everyday politics. According to her, people can be excluded from public spaces in two ways: either through the exclusionary practices of outside agents or by self-policing. One example of how outside agents perform their elimination policies is given by Cresswell (1996) who describes how the government of New York City has decided to remove homeless from public places like the Grand Central Station. Also, various neighborhood organizations obtain their identity by defining what they are not and by drawing upon class, ethnicity, gender, race, sexuality etc. Davis (1990) has given an example of how neighborhood activism can act as exclusionary policy by drawing attention to the conflict between rich house owners and immigrants in Los Angeles. The general understanding of house owners can be given with the lines of one Diamond Bar council candidate: “I do not want to see graffiti, gangs and prostitution – I want safety”. Rich house owners had already decided that multistory housing with poorer residents brings more criminality to their living area and they used neighborhood policies by excluding those poorer inhabitants. Manzo (2003*) notes that there are strict regulations on the usage of space and those who overstep the boundaries imposed upon them by society usually suffer consequences through harassment and violence.

Entrikin (2002) has discussed various strategies of dealing with “the bad side” of place attachment. The key, according to him, lies in respecting and recognizing the particularistic group cultural identities of citizens. Competition among different ethnic groups for socio-spatial expression greatly lessens as each group role and inheritance is acknowledged (Manzo and Perkins, 2006). All the members of community must be given a chance for active and full participation in place making policy. In multicultural society public debate and deliberation and rules that allow cultures to sustain themselves should be followed.

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