Redefining Place by Focusing on the Process of Creation and Explanation of Place Centrality

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph.D. in Architecture, Architecture Department, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Architecture Department, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.


Problem statement: ‘Place’ has been one of the most critical subjects of architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, and environmental design. However, most of the studies have been influenced by objective-subjective duality. Scholars have studied the place as a fixed issue separated from social structure and the place concept has been limited to the personal perceptual areas. These issues have led to a downward approach to place studies. In this regard, the place even has been reduced to a nostalgic space.
Research method: Recently and following the paradigm shift of social studies and philosophy, the reason for the creation and transformation of the place has been discussed. This qualitative research attempts to focus on the nature of place change through reproductive strategy. This article, using a retrospective approach, and with a descriptive-analytical method and qualitative content analysis, tries to categorize previous studies on the place in a qualitative study to address why the place is evolving.  And by taking a critical approach, examine the main (problematic) issues of these studies and then redefine the place.
Research objective: Available studies on the place have usually addressed the quiddity of place, its perception, and the physical aspects, or the mental aspects of individual perception of the place. The current study examines the reasons “Why” place has been created and the manifestation of the social structures in place and studied the role of the social practice in creating place and explained the components of social practices. 
Conclusion: The place simultaneously has objective manifestation, physical dimension, and social-economic process. In addition to the three mentioned aspects that usually are considered for the place by positivists (Form, function, meaning), the place also has three other aspects that could reveal social structure: difference, convergence, frequency. Through these components, the place would reflect social practices. Through difference, the place results in social interactions and contributes to vitality and improvement of the collective identity. By convergence, the place receives its value, and various groups get together regarding one specific event and goal rather than isolation and being away from the center, and create the place centrality. Through frequency, time could emerge in places.


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