I see place, at least in as much as it relates to towns and cities, as something that people do, rather than something purely physical. A bunch of empty buildings or a street might be a place in a fairly literal sense, but it isn’t a ‘place’ unless there’s people in it, doing something. To that extent, ‘place’ is a verb and what we’re talking about when we talk about a place being ‘healthy’ or, to use the cliched term, ‘vibrant’, is a description more of people than physical space. So, if my logic makes any sense, if you want a ‘vibrant’ sense of place, you sort of need people to have a sense of agency over it, so they feel like they can do something. Otherwise, they’re just passing through a bunch of buildings and streets, not really making a sense of place.
Writer in Residence for an art project based out of the Potts Point Country Women’s Association. http://browncouncil.com/massaction/…..and former CEO of Renew Adelaide.