Sense of Place is crucial to neighborhood development. It’s a framework to describe a neighborhood’s character and neighbors’ attachment to it. As you enter a school or local restaurant, you may feel attached to your surroundings. These emotional responses are indicative of the social “health” of your neighborhood. It means people are interacting with the place and developing memories there. Feelings of familiarity and hope for the future can build the will to take care of the neighborhood and transform it.
How Sense of Place strengthens a community
The strength of a community is only as strong as the bonds between people, people and place, and the systems’ interactions with the place. When all people have a sense of belongingness, it can extend outward to the community. When we plan a park especially to reflect a neighborhood’s character, it can make people feel more at home and connected to the place’s history and future. Neighbors gather there. Soon, the park is no longer just a park – it’s a local touchstone.
Issues and positive encounters born out of a neighborhood extend beyond the individual. Experiences once unique to one person become a collective expression of identity. People advocate for art, structures, or new changes that bring a neighborhood together. Diversity in a neighborhood further adds to the strength of a community.
We saw the way carefully thinking about sense of place can impact neighborhoods for good when we underwent a Master Planning Process with our neighbors. The plan incorporated neighbors’ desires for how the neighborhood will develop. Since the city adopted it, the plan stipulates the boundaries for how change will happen in the neighborhood. It’s a huge step towards honoring our historic neighbors’ wishes for their home, and it helps to make sure everyone in the community benefits from future development.
This plan will extend our model and make it even stronger. At Focused Community Strategies, mixed-income homes build unity. People are able to engage with one another and understand each other’s concerns. When issues arise, they come together as one. This bonding allows neighbors to coexist, weaving the community like a tight-knit fabric. Sense of Place creates a space for all, strengthening Neighborhoods. As one looks back, it’s a place they are happy to call “home.”
Take the next step – sign up for a discovery call with us!
We understand that developing sense of place can be difficult. More so, integrating it into your neighborhood can be complex. Sign up for a discovery call with us to help your community flourish and turn a space into a welcoming place.