Why Place Matters

In the era of globalization and increased connectivity, which was once predicted to loosen our bonds to place, Saffron Woodcraft argues that cities have become more, not less, significant.
April 26, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The increased mobility of people and businesses brought by the era of globalization and the internet have, ironically, increased the competition between cities to accentuate their differences and competitive advantages in order to attract industries and their "elite" employees.

In light of this, Woodcraft argues that we should pay more attention to the social life of cities, the process of building community, and the particular places in which those elements are rooted.

"The quality of that place matters – the range and affordability of housing, the job opportunities, the schools, healthcare and public transport – because it shapes day-to-day life and long-term opportunities. Yet what makes a bricks-and-mortar neighbourhood into a flourishing community is more than these big-ticket items. There are other, more subtle, factors that shape how safe, inclusive, cohesive and supportive a place feels, and how attached to that place people become."

"Unraveling what makes a place work means understanding and examining the particular social life of that community and the multitude of influences – past and present – that shape it."

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Published on Friday, April 20, 2012 in Urban Times
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