5 Place-making and change

Communities change values and aspirations, individuals change – so the sense of the place also changes (sense of place here is defined as comprising both place attachment and meanings) (Jivén and Larkham, 2003*). On the one hand, people inflict landscape changes, on the other hand, when space changes then also lifestyle, culture and attitude transform (Antrop, 2003). Changing places can cause the change of people’s values but people’s values can change landscape changes.

Jivén and Larkham (2003) have criticized planners for not taking into account the changing values. Historic preservation policies are not aimed at telling dynamic stories in which urban life is constructing itself, but instead are aimed at establishing a static past when things were nicer. They state that the sense of place cannot be created by professional intervention although conditions under which place making is taking place can be promoted. So place making process is mainly done by people and with changing people we have also ever changing practices. Relationships to the outside world are reflections of our inside world so that as a person grows and collects experiences, the external world is enriched by the inner potential of the individual (Manzo, 2003*). The relationships with places reflect the ongoing process of people making their own identity. For example some adults reproduce special places of childhood in their current residence, while others replay unresolved childhood conflicts (Manzo, 2003*).

Place meanings for people can also change through experiences of tragedy or loss (Manzo, 2003). One of the examples is the transformation of place identity when loosing a friend whom the place was connected to. This place does not seem so positive to us anymore.

Friedmann (2007*) explains changing of place identities as a result of population movement, aging, new construction, demolitions, floods, warfare, new technologies and customs etc. But changing place meaning can be a conscious process as well. Gustafson (2001*) has given an example of how people try to connect themselves with place by forging social relations, acquiring knowledge or by physically reshaping the place.

One widely argued topic is how globalization affects place making and locality. It is believed that globalization creates deterritorialized cultures and places change through migration, economic change. Still, McKay and Brady (2005) argue that places have always joined together to make regions; and porosity of borders has always been essential to place-making. Their conclusion is that the nature of place might be changing with global movements of people and information, but not the place itself. Friedmann (2007*, p 277) has written with reference to Clifford Geertz: “ ‘no one lives in the world in general’ but in localities where human ties and familiar landscapes give rise to sentiments of place”.

Yet, it is still correct that the meanings of places become less stable as more and more personal experiences and social relations are removed from the local context (Cook et al., 2007*). So people nowadays need more time to establish the sense of place and attach to localities. Bonding to a place for a lifetime now involves spending many decades together, modern people are instead finding suitable places for different stages of life (Hay, 1998).

Sometimes people do not cope with changing environment, practices – their sense of place gets lost (Cook et al., 2007). This has been detected in rural areas, where places are disappearing and new ones have not yet been created (Friedmann, 2007). This loss happens partly because of people’s need for continuity. Gustafson (2001) has emphasized the sense of continuity of the self in creating place attachment.

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