What does it mean to have pride of place for your community? How can we continue building community? How can we be resilient and healthy as a community?
My thesis project in graduate school focused on the power of architecture to create a sense of place. My theory is that you have to know a place – people, culture, and climate – to be able to design effective structures that build place (or community). The more we become a place that looks like every other place (strip architecture filled with chain businesses and signs geared towards driving in a car) the less resilient we become. The more we celebrate what is unique to us the stronger we are as a community. Design can build a sense of place and that sense of place has huge power over how the community exists.
Community can mean many things depending on context. You could be a community of people that all attend the same school, live in a specific neighborhood, or cheer for the same team. Community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as religion, values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a sense of place situated in a given geographical area or virtual space through communication platforms.
I am going to focus a series of blogs on community in the form of a geographic area. As we seem to focus more and more on our differences, I want to explore a bit of how design building sense of place can bring us back together. Stay tuned for more.