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Sustainability in Relations to Sense of Place

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The term ‘sustainable’ in cities can be of many different aspects, ranging from different views and upbringing of people from all over the world. The aim for sense of place essay is to investigate the links and connection between the sense of place which talks more about how history and times changes ‘place’, and how human perspective and their culture practices will then participate to create value to a place and maintaining a ‘sustainable’ city.

In the past, the term “sustainability” can always mean so much more than what people may think of. To understand the origins of “sustainability” and how it eventually started, it may refer generally to the exploration the earth’s capacity for bio-sphere and human civilization to coincide. The three factors of achieving sustainability is categorized into Social, Environment, and Economic. It is then further studied on how shaping the limit usage of material resources and enhancing technical advancements to improve and cater human potential needs as much as possible without harming the Mother Earth and the environment around us.

Along with the sustainable framework defined by World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), a “sustainable development” is an economic activity that meets the needs of the present generation without the future generations to do so. It was then categorized into three different components which is the economic growth, social progress, and the environmental protection. With these different components it forms up a cognitive framework which leads to how to maintain a sustainable development in a city.

Apart from all the research and studies on how to conserve resources and applying greenery spaces, one of the concept of “place-attachment” by Siow Kian Tan of ELSEVIER article, she looks into a how sense of place can be related to a sustainability of intangible cultural heritage, and the importance of how preserving the intangible cultural heritage by maintaining relevant buildings helps to balance sustainability in a city.

Thus, this leads to my research topic on what makes a city sustainable? What is then considered a ‘sustainable’ city to live in? Is a sustainable city include just by achieving energy saving and green mark buildings? Using the right materials and natural resources? Or by human behavior and their cultures, as different cultures practices ‘sustainability’ in many different ways as well.

Many people has misinterpreted what is sustainability to them and its value. They often thought that sustainability would relate and work only when there are green spaces, greenery surrounding the buildings and to play a part in conserving resources such as water and recycled materials like plastics and carbonated Styrofoam to save the environment around them. In conclusion, dozens of books and sources have made the case for sustainability and documented progress towards it. As the debate regarding sustainable development begins to permeate discussion about global cities many are asking the new questions on the definition of ‘sustainability’ to them, and developing different perspectives on the different understanding of what is ‘sustainability’ to them as individuals. Hence, to re-define the concept of sustainability, which is not about balancing the aspects of greenery and green spaces in a city, but should include a sense of ownership, attachment to a place and maintaining relevant built spaces, whereby it is cultivated through social interaction and connectivity among people within the space. A space should be not only focus on the structures and form but more of how the living goes in them.

Firstly, one of my methods in for this research is by analyzing the Social Cognitive framework, it provides me with study and understanding of the term “Environmental Determinism” as an idea of how human behavior and their actions derived from their cultures affects the living environment around them, which will make a stand relating to my point of view. This framework consists of three factors which include, ‘Human Behavior’ which describes the human actions, ‘Personal Factors’ which describes their different cultures and development, and ‘Environmental Factors’ which talks more about the natural factors such as solar energy, temperature and weather uncertainties condition.

Secondly, to understand the concept study of “place-attachment’ by Kian Tan of ELSEVIER article, which is a study of how “place-bonding’ can contribute to the sustainability of intangible cultural heritage, and how these elements help the sustainability of heritage tourism in a city or place. Some of the themes in the framework were “Sense of Loss”, “Sense of Justice”, and “Sense of Mission”, which derives a term called the “person-place bonding” which motivates community participation in sustaining the intangible cultural heritage they actually value the most.

Last but not least, along with the framework of sustainable place-shaping, Sara Grenni looks into inner dimensions of sustainability transformation which how place values and attachment can add to creating a sustainable city. Furthermore, she studies on place-based sustainability approaches which consists of connecting people to places, enabling the engagement and collaboration of shaping and altering the material and immaterial to construct spaces, as well as how time and space affects the people living there and their practices. With the framework of sustainable place-shaping, it is a double process which involves inner dimensions, such as its meaning and values attached to places and outer dimensions, such as physical places and institutional of place. How place meaning and values shaping the physical transformation of places, vice versa.

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Sustainability in Relations to Sense of Place. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from
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