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Why do places Matter?

Places and spaces contribute to philosophical thought, as well as analysing the material conditions of lives and behaviour that inform how we experience the passing of time. They enhance our understanding of human behaviour and how human beings connect and interact with the built environment.

photograph of a ceiling with light fixture and decorative leaf plaster work

When defining the heritage significance of a place, it is not enough to describe the physical characteristics and their attributes, it is essential to capture what is valued and why, as this goes to the heart of understanding people’s responses to their environment. This is because people develop an attachment and ascribe value to a

place that goes beyond bricks and mortar. Places reflect people’s lives, aspirations, needs and status that offer new opportunities for them. This is a constant in society, which needs to be articulated as part of understanding significance and managing change, as a site may have a different history that is dependent on what each

person brings to the site. People utilise space to derive a sense of purpose and identity, and over time a tangle of different stories and lifelines get caught up with each other. In this view, space becomes a meeting point of stories, the memory and history of which, add to an individual’s sense of place. Places become the product of

people’s memory, composed of layers of investment and connections, that can be an empowering component of built environments.

Why do places matter?

Written by Alison Worlledge


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