Sense of Place: Valuable for Communities
June 9, 2014

Kent C. Ryden, author of Mapping the Invisible Landscape:  Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place, defines sense of place as “…that complex of meaning that gives a landscape significance in the eyes of the people who inhabit it, marking it off from the surrounding terra incognita…” [Ryden, Kent C. Mapping the Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1993), p. xiv.]

sense of place

 Interns and Apprentices meandered around 12 tables to help each other in identifying key assets in their communities (including sense of place) during a Commonwealth Fair at OC’s Orientation Retreat, held at Talon Point on June 3-5.

What Is Sense of Place?

In simpler terms, a sense of place is the meaning or significance a person ascribes to his or her community or surroundings.  We consider it one of the 12 Key Assets of Commonwealth.  In the context of our hearts and minds, geography has less to do with actual borders and more to do with the landscape of our memories.  Sense of place also has to do with an individual’s ability to feel a part of the community and terrain.  When someone has a connection to a people and surrounding land, they are more likely to love, invest in, and care about the place they call home.

Imagine what it would be like to live in a community where everyone felt a deep connection to community members and the region they inhabited.

OC just spent the past week giving an Orientation Retreat to 45 new Community Interns and Apprentices.  One purpose of the gathering was to offer open minds new information and renewed vision, so that opened hearts will feel a deeper passion and purpose for the places where we live.

What does sense of place mean to you?  What do you do to deepen and grow your love for the place where you dwell?  We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!