How can someone describe a place in its entirety? How might we communicate the feelings, ambiance, and energy of an area? When we speak of the “Spirit of Place”, we hope to capture the seen (tangible) and unseen (intangible) elements that give a place its character. This complex notion results from the historical interaction of a community with the locality, and from the interweaving of tangible and intangible elements. The spirit of a place is not static and can change over time, as people’s relationship to the location evolves and new meanings are imbued into the locale.
In your opinion:
Where do you think has strong “Spirit of Place”?
Where do you think has weak “Spirit of Place”?
Photo by HKICON
Cultural Mapping 文化製圖
For centuries, mapping has been used to understand the geo-physical structure of an area by creating a visual interpretation of space. Complex information can be dissected and synthesized, often to produce new conceptions of the surrounding area. Maps can communicate geography (space), but also conceptual narratives such as history and change (time). Building upon this, cultural mapping aims to document existing cultural values of a place through chosen attributes. These may include physical features indicating historical development, activities arising from religious beliefs, and social customs reflecting community structures.
Human settlements develop through a process of reciprocal action between humans and the environment. Just as we impact our surroundings, they impact us. Fundamentally speaking, place-making occurs when people mold the environment for various functions: to create shelter, to make a livelihood, to build relationships. If an environment already has an established human settlement, then newcomers engage with that existing settlement by culturally adapting. Both person and place adapt when changes occur in a neighborhood.