You’ve heard us talk about the importance of focusing on Place. In particular, we’ve been explaining the concept of Sense of Place and how it can supercharge neighborhood transformation. Today, we want to talk about related but distinct concepts: rootedness and proximity. We know all these ideas can get a little confusing. But since they’re important, we’re breaking them down for you today!
What’s Sense of Place, What’s Rootedness, and What’s Proximity?
Sense of Place, Rootedness, and Proximity all work together to create what’s called “place attachment.” Essentially, place attachment is the emotional bond between a person and a place. In this case, it’s the felt connection between a resident and their neighborhood.
Sense of Place
Sense of Place is a conscious experience of a place. It’s how you feel and what you notice when you walk through the area. It’s the way that the buildings, the people, the greenspace, and the structure all make you think of a neighborhood’s personality. Obviously, sense of place has a deep effect on the emotional bond a person has with their environment.
Rootedness is an unconscious experience. It’s an emotional attachment to a place because it’s familiar. It’s the feeling of being at home, of being bonded, even if you can’t quite pinpoint why. If your family has settled in an area for a few generations, you may feel a sense of rootedness just because of your own intergenerational memories. Everything is familiar and layered with personal meaning.
Proximity is about closeness. It’s the idea that being in a place a lot can create a sense of closeness, too. Instead of thinking about familiarity or the way a place’s identity is crafted, proximity is all about simply being nearby. The distance between homes and social gatherings or other community members is all about proximity, as it has a deep effect on the bond people feel with their neighborhood.
Now that we’ve cleared up what these three interlocking concepts are, it’s time to put them to work! Our course on Holistic Neighborhood Development will walk you through the model we use in Historic South Atlanta. Through this introductory-level course, you’ll see how we leverage Proximity, Rootedness, and Sense of Place to create a thriving neighborhood.