Topophilia

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This is an important text that examines the two-way relationship between humans and environments. It discusses the search for environment in the city, suburb, countryside, and wilderness from a human perspective. Topophilia is the term coined by the author to describe the ‘human love of place’ or ‘the affective bond between people and place or setting’ (p.4). Essentially it centres on the human response to place.

This text is included as it is an important and influential text in human geography. Tuan like Relph is a seminal figure in this area. This is an important text that supports my project by exploring place relationships. I’m also thinking of calling my project Topophilia…

Tuan, Y. (1974) Topophilia: a study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values, Columbia University Press, New York.

A Geography of the Lifeworld: Movement, Rest, and Encounter

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This text is an examination of the experience of the everyday spaces, places, and environment in peoples’ daily lives. It explores in-depth the relationships between community and place. The central message this book outlines is that positive human existence involves active links with the locality. The focus is on people’s firsthand involvements with their everyday places, spaces, and environments. It draws similarities with Edward Relph in Place and Placelessness, both offer phenomenological interpretation of environmental and place experience. The ideas here are particularly relevant my project as it centres on the human experience.

Seamon, D. (1979) A Geography of the Lifeworld: Movement, Rest, and Encounter, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

Place and Placelessness

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This was one of the first major studies that examined the idea of place in terms of the human experience. However, it is important to note that this study conducted in 1976 may not apply completely in today’s global world. It is included here as it provides a background to this topic and is supported in part by contemporary studies like ‘Place-identity’, The People, Place, and Space Reader, (2014) edited by Jen Jack Gieseking & William Mangold et al.

Relph gives a detailed phenomenological account of how places are experienced and how they are changing. He argues that place is a fundamental aspect of people’s existence in the world. This book examines how and why people engage and identify with particular places. He argues that spread of modernity is causing a sense of ‘placelessness’ destroying ‘distinctive places and the making of standardised landscapes that results from an insensitivity to the significance of place’ (preface).

This concept can also be applied to the field of illustration and is particularly relevant to the theme of the everyday experience explored in this project.

Relph, E. (1976) Place and Placelessness, London: Pion.

http://www.placeness.com

Psychogeography

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This text provides an in dept examination of the term psychogeography. It explains this concept as an approach to geography that emphasises playfulness and ‘drifting’ around urban environments. This is echoed in the texts of Benjamin and Baudelaire. In addition it gives an analysis of the key figures in this field as well as practical information on psychogeographical groups and organisations.

Essentially psychogeography is the point where psychology and geography meet in assessing the emotional and behavioral impact of urban space and its inhabitants. It provides new ways of understanding the environment, transforming familiar streets of the everyday experience into something new and unexpected.

This book is relevant to my project as it providesan interesting perspective on human geography and how we use and take part in the environment.

Coverley, M. (2006), Psychogeography, Oldcastle Books, New York.

Walking the City – an extract

“The ordinary practitioners of the city live “down below,” below the thresholds at which visibility begins. They walk—-an elementary form of this experience of the city; they are walkers, Wandersmanner, whose bodies follow the thicks and thins of the urban “text” they write without being able to read it. These practitioners make use of spaces that cannot be seen; their knowledge of them is as blind as that of lovers in each other’s arms. The paths that correspond in this intertwining, unrecognized poems in which each body is an element signed by many others, elude legibility. It is as though the practices organizing a bustling city were characterized by their blindness. The networks of these moving, intersecting writings compose a manifold story that has neither author nor spectator, shaped out of fragments of trajectories and alterations of spaces: in relation to representation, it remains daily and indefinitely other.”

Certeau, M.d. (1988) ‘Chapter 7, Walking the City’ The Practice of Everyday Life, pp. 91-110, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, London.