What do you try and pay the most attention to in new places?
Show notes and links:
Place Identity (Wikipedia)
Full episode text
New places carry a power, both interpersonally and within groups. Partially because of their newness, which, as we’ve talked about before, the human brain can crave to a surprising degree — and partially because no place is truly “new”. After all, a physical space likely comes with implications, history, context, space, and definitions all its own.
In fact, there is an entire field of study – environmental psychology and place identity – that is devoted just to this. Quoting here from everyone’s most trusted source Wikipedia:
“Place identity or place-based identity refers to a cluster of ideas about place and identity in the fields of geography, urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture, environmental psychology, ecocriticism and urban sociology/ecological sociology. It concerns the meaning and significance of places for their inhabitants and users, and how these meanings contribute to individuals’ conceptualizations of self.”
Those individual conceptions of self are often a big part of what drives how we see a new place, and how our place within it is seen. In the discussion of this question, answers have already ranged from “the friendliness of bicycle routes” to “possible escape routes”, and I think these are all answer that explain what we find most important as much as what the new place brings to the table.
After all, being somewhere is a conversation – between you and yourself, you and the place, and the space and your experience, as well as so much more
And such an interesting conversation it can be.