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Place Attachment in Early Stages of Learning

April 28, 2016

 

Placemaking's primary focus is on strengthening the elements that make places engaging, livable, sustainable, and worth caring about.   

 

After yesterday's, Let’s Play Together event hosted at a local primary school made me realise the open and curious minds of children can be a significant resource for strengthening the bonds between people and places.

 

Not having any children myself and always looking through the eyes of a professional adult, it made me witness the challenges people face every day as they struggle to find meaning and connection in their lives. 

 

As a place maker and creative economic developer, I am passionate about enhancing the quality of the bonds that form between people and places, for the health and well-being of both. 

 

This interest has led me to study the subject of place attachment from many different angles, and through many disciplines. What makes a person feel a sense of belonging, meaning, and connection in a place?

 

Most agree that childhood experiences of places—both the events that happen there and the environments themselves—play a pivotal role in the development of place attachment bonds throughout the lifespan. 

 

Here is my question:

 

Can we be proud of our country but not proud of our community? 

Is pride of place something we can change or do we grow up with it? 

 

One of the largest survey’s of Australians attitudes found 70 percent said they were “Very Proud” to be Australian, and a further 25 per cent were “Quite Proud” ref Australian Research Council Feb 2015

 

Changing the stigma of an area for the better takes years to make the cultural shift, changing the stigma for the negative can happen overnight according to a particular incident especially when it is related to community safety.

 

When I grew up in my town home community, I was very proud as a child, after returning from world travel I found myself not so impressed. 

 

It had changed, a lot. There was so much overdevelopment, lack of open green spaces and even the houses didn't seem maintained as much as I remember.

 

The point is that if we turn our children’s focus to their local environment as a subject of study, we are conveying the message that your local township place matters.  By giving them the opportunity to focus on their local environment, learn about it, engage with it, experience it, and share it with others. 

 

By working with local businesses on enhancing the streetscape and community engagement projects, will this bring back the pride of place?

 

What are your thoughts, I'd love to hear them?

 

 

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