People don’t like to feel alone, and that’s completely understandable. The sentiment of wanting to feel close to something or someone is wrapped up in our sense of belonging. Why do we feel like we have to belong somewhere? Well, it roots us in a place and time. It gives us a place to refer to back when people go looking for “who we really are”. But, a sense of belonging also helps us identify ourselves and locate ourselves in the larger context of society. It makes us feel like we belong with a group of people and that that group all have certain identifying characteristics. For some reason, we take comfort from these abstract concepts. I’ve been struggling with these concepts for the past two years, and while I’m not any closer to answering the question of why we feel the need to belong, I can say that I’ve learned a few things along the way…..
One of the oldest tenants of geography is the concept of place. As a result, place has numerous definitions, from the simple “a space or location with meaning” to the more complex “an area having unique physical and human characteristics interconnected with other places.” There are three key components of place: location, locale, and a sense of place. Location is the position of a particular point on the surface of the Earth. Locale is the physical setting for relationships between people, such as the South of France or the Smoky Mountains.
Place is defined as location plus meaning.
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