Changing Places


The concept of place

A place can be regarded as a location, plotted on a map and given grid references- but this explanation of a place does not reveal any details about it- like what its like, or how it has been shaped. this means that when places are studied geographers use a broader definition of the term place- this definition includes everything which makes up a place. including:

- the location 

- the physical characteristics- geology, topography 

- the human characteristics- demographics, land use, built environment

- the flows into and out of the place- money, people, ideas, resources 

- the sense of place- emotions attatched to the area eg, a sense of home shared between members of a family. 

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Change in the elements of place

apart from the location of the place, all other aspects of a place can change over time and are constantly changing and changing the sense of a place. eg;

- places ca change physically over time- rivers migrate, volcanos alter the landscape ect. 

- human characteristics change over generations from different modern developments, birth and death, and migration

- flows can change- eg a successful TNC could set up in the area bringing employment and investment, or could close down. 

- sense of place changes on a personl level- eg childhood places such as a park will not spark the same emotions as an adult. 

Hence showing how places have the ability to CHANGE. 

the emotional attatchments to places are most likely to be different to each persons individual experiances and mindset.  

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insider and outsider perspectives

place is important to most people as it can help to form peoples identities and the ways in which they define themselves based on where they feel connected to eg. many people regard their birthplace as a big part of their identity. 

individuals can also share characteristics creating a group, this creates a shared sense of place binding people and places together. this occurs at many scales:

- local; villagers sharing a positive sense of the same village 

- regional; people from the same region sharing an accent 

- national; people from the same country sharing national pride, or language ect. 

this relation with identity and places means that people can be seen as insiders or outsiders. 

insiders- familiar with a place, feels welcome/ believes they belong, same cultural values

outsiders- feels unwelcome or excluded, do not understand the culture. 

eg, young people may feel like outsiders in a retirement village. 

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Experienced and Media places

it is still possible to have a sense of place around laces we havent been to. 

experianced places are place that people have spent time in, when a person visits a place it is their own experiances which shape their sense of place for that area. 

media places are somewhere a person has not been to but can gain a sense of place through the perspective of the place presented in the media- online, books, tv.

someone's sense of a media place can be very different to if they expecianced the same place for themselves. for example tourist agencies and tv programmes present the caribean as a place of luxury and natural beauty, whereas on the island there is widespread poverty for locals (although some development due to tourism is helping to change this). 

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Near and far places

often we catagorise near places as somewhere which is geographically close to the place in which we live. in a near place it is most likely to feel like an insider- as it is likely they have been experianced by us and understand how to behave within them. however this is not always the place- some people may feel like outsiders in near places due to a variety of factors- age, race, religion. 

recently, the process of globalisation has helped to open up the world- and help change concepts of near and far. globalisation refers to the process of the words econmies, political systems and cultures becoming more closely integrated. this has been due to:

- improvements in travel technology meaning far places are quicker to get to and can be more frequently visited. 

- the expanding use of ICT means people can become familiar with places via the media 

- people can remain closely connected to people in far places using the internet. 

TNCs and global product ranges mean that far places can seem very similar to near places- with clone towns, and several large towns and cities displaying the same chain stores. the term placelessness shows how globalisation is making distant places feel the same. 

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Endogenous and exogenous factors

all places have a unique character which is formed by their many different characteristics,

endogenous- the internal factors shaping a place's character these can be physical or human 

exogenous- the external factors which shape a places character- including the relationship with other places and flows into and out of places. in essence exogenous factors refer to how places are related to other places and how these relationships affect the character. these connections can come from relative location and flows of people, resources, money and ideas. 

- relative location to other places affects character; eg villages outside of cities may be characterised as commuter settlements which bring many individual characteristics. 

- tourism affects land use and economic charactristics of many areas, eg tourist resorts contain many hotels and most locals are employed within the industry. 

- investment from TNC's around their factories can influence the character and infanstructure of an area eg shell in nigeria 

- migration changes the culture and diversity within an area, and brings demographic characteristics- eg in birmingham 27% of the population are of Asian dececent. 

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Endogenous factors

Can include physical characteristics:

- location; where a place is, eg on the coast or inland, rural or urban ect. Places can be characterised by the features they have due to location. Eg costal locations may be characterised as a port due to the presence of the sea, in land this would not be possible but the area could be a trade hub if it existed in a confluence of road and rail networks. 

- topography; the shape of the landscape, places can be directly characterised by their topography eg. flat or hilly. But the topography can also affect other factors leading to other characteristics being developed- eg, land use- intensive arable farming , or pastoral hill sheep farming in hilly areas. 

- physical geography; the environmental features of a place eg. altitude, soil and rock type. this can cause direct characteristics being established like places having igneous, sedementary or metamorphic rocks formng different landscapes. Or could lead to other factors which in turn affect the charcter of the area eg, a place rich in natural resources like coal or oil may be characterised by the industries which exist in the area due to this.  

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Endogenous factors

can include human factors:                                                                                                             - land use; refers to the human activities which occur on the land- like farming, industry, resedential ect. this means that it is one of the most important factors in determining the character of a place eg many people would define an area as rural if the main industry is farming. land use also creates other factors which give places a character eg, high density buildings are often needed for businesses in city centres while residentual areas may need lower density housing. the land use of an area changes over time eg. dindustrialisation canlead to industrial wasteland being transformed into housing.                                                                 -built environment and infanstructure; refers to aspects of places which are built by humans, the term infanstructure refers to structures built for transport, communication, and services. places can be characterised by the built environment, eg cities are more likely to have more high density buildings, and complex networks of road and rail systems and facities like sport stadiums, churchs and communication systems. on the otherhand villages will have less buildings, which are smaller and lower density, with built features like maket places.                   -demographic and economic characteristics; demographics refer to who lives in a place and what they are like, including age, gender, education, religion ect. these can directly contribute to the character of places eg many seaside villages where old people retire to mey be characterised as old. Economic factors refer to work and money including; income, employment rates, types of job. leading to charactersitics eg. kensington london has high employment of above average earners and the area is characterised as wealthy. 

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Shifting flows

places are constantly changing because the factors whcih create their character are constantly changing. historically this change was most affected by the local endogenous factors of the place eg, mining towns where natural resources are present, or towns built on places with natural defences around them- like on top of hills. 

the origional character of many places has been changed by exogenous influences occuring over time, due flows of money, people, rescources and ideas. these flows have all increased this is due to improvements in transport- meaning people and goods are able to move, better communications via the internet has allowed communication the ability to happen instantly. so places are now more connected of large distances- called globalisation. 

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Demographic and cultural change- shifting flows

demographic characteristics are to do with who lives in a place abd what they are like, these characteristics of a place can change due to changing external flows:

- flows of people can change any of the demographic characteristics of a place. eg on a local scale- young people moving out of an area because they cannot afford house prices leads to an aging population, meanwhile on an international scale mass migration from the Africas to Europe starting in 2015 has led to the changing geder balance in some towns with a large proportion of males. 

- flows of money and investment from the government or businesses can change the demographic character. eg governments may invest money in areas so more people move to live in them. such as the London /docklands development coporation was set up by the government in 1981 to redevelop the docklands by inproving the economy and built environment- causeing the population to double by 2000. 

- flows of ideas and money; new ideas such as birth control can flow to new places and affect their demographic characteristics by reducing birth rate and population size, and changing age structures. eg, many of the poorest countries in the world have the lowest usage of birth control and the most rapid population growth. 

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Demographic and cultural change- shifting flows

cultural characteristics of places are to do with how people live their lives eg. the food, customs, clothing, traditions, language, art, attitudes and beliefs. these can change due to external flows:

- flows of people; new people who move or visit a place bring their culture with them which changes the characteristics of a place, eg, in the 1960 the UK experianced mass migration from commonwealth states such as india and pakistan,creating multi-ethnic communities with more languages spoken, more foods and religions practised. 

- flows of money, investment and ideas; new cultural ideas introduced to places can change the characteristics of places eg fast food chains from the USA such as McDonalds and KFC have opened chains in China in 1980 and have grown rapidly there since, it is now thought that eating habits have changed in china now, with more people favouring western style food of traditional chinese food. 

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External forces driving change in places

-Government policies; can directly affect the demographic characteristics of a place- eg by introducing population control policies. Such as the one-child policy in China which restricted rapid population growth. Or in France lower taxes, maternity leave conditions encouraged more people to have children. 

They can also affect the cultural characteristics of the place. for example in the control of immigration- eg in 1960s Germany invited the Turks to come over to Germany to live and work, many of these migrants settled here long term and brought their culture with them- eg turkish fast food outlets are common and the second most practised language is Turkish. 

other policies may affect the demographic, social and economic character of a place. eg government funded schemes to regenerate run down urban areas- such as the Bristol temple quarter regeneration which has encouraged modern hitec businesses to set up in the area and for the new Bristol stadium to be built. 

-Decisions of multinational corporations 

-Impacts of international or global institutions 

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Changing connections

connections between places in the past shape their character in the present, eg London has been connected to other major global cities by sea trade routes these connections allowed it to become wealthier and more closely linked to other cultures. this then led London to become a global city with global trade centres, politics, finance, and culture with a large diverse population. 

new connections made between places in the present can also affect their character eg. London and New York have strengthened their relationships with each other through industries such as finance and banking and the closer ease of communication through the internet and air travel now. 

the ways in which places developed in the past may also affect their character in the present, which is shaped by a mix of connections and developments which they have undergone through history and the present day connections occuring. 

Eg the sense of place and relationships in Belfast is changing, with the history in the area of religious segregation and fighting connected to the troubles. this image is now changing focusing on tourism as a new industry looking at highlights such as the birthplace of the Titanic however there are still landmarks such as the peacewalls showing indications of a turbulent past. 

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Meanings associated with place

every place has meanng to the people who know it- this is known as their sense of the place and how they feel about them. different groups attatch different meanings to the same places. this differance in opinion is usually associated with each persons experiance of the place; eg an insider or outsider perspective, or a positive or negative experiance. 

the feelings people associate with places may also be affected by how places have been represented to them- ie how people portray places they know to others. 

hence different people/organisations present places in different ways depending on their perspective of the place. eg tourism companies present locations they operate in as a positive place as they stand to gain more business from it, meanwhile newspapers may present the same place in a more negative way in order to gain more sales from it. 

the meanings and representations of place to different people are important in changing how people behave towards the places, and are also important on generating identity based on places they feel connected to. 

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Influences on place perceptions

different groups strive to change peoples meanings of different places, to change a sense of place or meaning of place so peoples behaviour towards them will change. Eg:

- governments; local or national, to attract people or investment

- Corporate bodies; government funded agiencies/ businesses, to generate a profit or to fufil a specific purpose

- community or local groups; improve local economy or the lives of locals. 

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Influences on place perceptions

main strategies to change the meaning of places; 

- place marketing; where places are sold like a product to consumers- who will potentially visit/move to the area and in turn invest/ spend money there. marketing companies are often employed to produce websites, design logos, run campaings, and social media. eg the lake district is now advertised as the adventure capital of the UK through websites which detail all the activies available in the area. 

- reimaging; changes the negative perceptions of a place. eg in the 1980 many people saw Birmingham as a place of high unemployment and abandoned factories. many places in the city have now been reimaged into new developments such as Bridleyplace which is a former industrial site repurposed into a town centre with shops and offices, residential areas, resturants and bars. 

- rebranding; giving a place a new identity which is appealing to people and investors, it is achieved through reimaging, place marketing and regeneration schemes. as a part of this many places develop logos and slogans designed to be recognisable and create positive associations with the place they represent eg 'i am sterdam' or 'people make Glasgow' 

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Representation via different sources

ways of representing places can be either quantitive (quantified numerically and can be analysed with statistics) or qualitive (cannot be quantified numerically and may be descriptive or creative). 

Different forms of representing a place can create contrasting representations, and so when investigating a place it is important to look at more than one places in order to build up a true sense of the place. 

statistics eg census data, can give you a lot of quantitive information about the nature of places- population/ structure, income, crime in the form or raw data or graphs and charts. the data itself is objective but can be used subjectivly as people are able to select what data they want to show. 

maps can show any sort of data with a location eg show physical features, also show qualitive demographic and economic data, eg income by location. could show an index of happiness. can be reliable, but could also be misleading such as historic trading maps- often eurocentric/ exadurate particular land masses 

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Representation via different sources

films, photography, art these are visua representations of how places look, this helps to give some sense of the character of a place however this is presented in the view of the artist and so may apear misleading. photos only show an area at one place and moment in time and can be altered to distort reality. films and tv help to evoke particular feelings about places which correspond to the story they are trying to tell- evoking particular emotions. 

stories, articals, music, poetry written representations can help to describe the character of a place in more depth, whist creating a closer bond withthe reader through words- more emotion corresponded with the place, however this perspective may be tainted by the author. newspaper articals can give lots of detail around a place but may be presented in a way which is severly biased- linked to political beliefs ect, and may dramatise a situation to gain sales. 

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