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This social capital may have the same durability and slow-changing nature as the natural and built environments, but it is likely to have more in common with the built environment than the natural environment in this respect. In rural areas, most people have relatively infrequent interaction with other people and the interaction takes place at widely scattered points in space.

This is due in large part to the low density of population and the low spatial concentration of work sites. In some important agricultural regions, for example, farmers spend much of their work time in their own homes and make infrequent visits to other nodes. When they do visit other nodes, they must travel long distances— to sell their products, buy consumer goods and services, deal with government, or participate in nonprofit institutions.

Their children often have long trips to and from school. However, the sense of common purpose, identity, and rootedness may be just as strong in farming communities as in small towns or urban neighborhoods. Indeed, it has been suggested that some farming regions have a strong sense of place because their people see themselves as bound together by the common experience of dealing with the vagaries of nature. Definitions of places and design of policies that affect places must give special recognition to rural areas, but as always, the criteria related to the terms near and frequent must be applied reasonably.

For most purposes it is not useful to consider. The concept of community as place is discussed in more detail below. In common parlance, community is often a synonym for place. Someone may say Southam is a pleasant place; another may say Southam is a pleasant community, and both mean exactly the same thing. Yet the people in a place, as defined here, may or may not share certain elements of community in another sense—that is, the sense of having common goals and values.

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This type of community feeling is not necessary for a territory and its people to qualify as a place for the purposes of this report. There are many communities that are not limited to any small piece of territory. On the other hand, in many places a strong sense of community does develop. This is an example of a more general principle that aspects of the unique and specific character of a place do not depend solely on the internal history of that place but also on the relations between that place and other places. Involvement in wider social relations—as in trade and investment, tourism and migration—does not necessarily impose homogeneity on places; rather it may actually help to reinforce uniqueness.

Sack suggests the metaphor of thick and thin places. Thick places have people who are more inward looking and are more aware of their place in everyday life.

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A strong sense of community, often considered an essential part of a sense of place, is a form of social capital and sometimes an important. Unfortunately, this social capital often has negative effects on livability for some people e. Here again is an example in which the spatial dependence between places of similar scale is a major determinant of the character of place at a higher scale. One important aspect of time was raised in the discussion of the effect of durability of natural, built, and social environments.

This section includes comments on other effects of time.

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The passage of time not only affects the built and natural environmental settings of a place but also affects the local population. Planners must cope with moving targets, speaking both metaphorically and literally. The legacy of the past may be long lasting for some portions of the population long-time residents, in particular , but nearly irrelevant for others recent in-migrants, for example , thus creating divisions and tensions.

Changing populations further intensify the competition and conflict that characterize all places.

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Some of the most dramatic examples of residential metamorphosis in recent decades have involved gentrification of poor urban neighborhoods. When gentrification is examined from the perspective of a particular piece of territory, the process may appear uniformly benign and beneficial. For example, social indicators begin to improve as neighborhoods gentrify.

Aging and dilapidated housing stock is renovated or replaced; new purchasing power leads to commercial growth; and land values and rental costs increase. However, from the perspective of the people rather than territory, the displacement of lower-income individuals and their replacement by an influx of higher-income individuals contribute to the increases in rents and housing prices. These increases can cause considerable disruption of the social networks that the original residents developed over.

The displaced individuals may not find adequate housing with a similar support structure. Lakshmanan and Bolton , p. Should decisions be made based on the ones that are expected to live in the place at some future date in time? Or are the only persons who count those who not only live in the place now, but will continue to live there in the future? Clearly, planners do not focus only on current residents—they take the long view and consider likely in-migrants.

Much planning is done precisely to attract new residents. Planners consider tourists and short-term visitors as well, especially if their spending adds to employment and tax revenue.


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Planners may also slight or under-weight current residents who are likely to leave in the relatively near future. Some common statistical indicators actually count the relevant population in a way not yet mentioned.

Consider numbers such as total income, per capita income, poverty rate, illness due to poor environmental quality, and quality of public services per capita. These data are often available for each year and reflect the situation of all persons who live in the place in that year , no matter how long before or after they live there. The indicators do not allow one to discriminate among groups according to how long they lived in the place or whether their movements in and out were easy or were under duress.

The problem arises both in interpreting historical data and in projecting livability over the future. It is important to have data that track individuals or at least certain groups of individuals. It is often suggested that there is an opposition between people and place, as a way to highlight the problem of a changing population in a given political jurisdiction. It would be better to express the opposition as one between people and territory. Both types of policies aim at helping people who are currently living in some place and who are in economic distress Winnick, ; Bolton, People prosperity policies assist people whether or not they remain in a specific place.

An example is general retraining that has a value even if the recipient decides to move elsewhere. Place prosperity policies are also aimed at people, but they confer benefits only if the recipient remains in a specific place; examples are subsidies for local job creation or public infrastructure. Any description, any analysis, and any prescription for a place must take account of these changes. These changes of course may be functions of gender, age at the start of the period, education and occupation, or other personal characteristics. The life course is dependent in large part on the career path, a concept well known in human capital theory and other areas of labor economics.

Other changes are due to more abrupt alterations in economic situation or to shifts in social attitudes in the nation or region as a whole, and these are not very predictable. The changes due to migration and turnabouts in preferences are related to each other in a significant way. Some change can prompt current residents to leave a place. The option to choose one course of action over another is significant, though this is never reflected in the readily available data. Many things affect choice, including the expected efficacy of voice if the person stays.

If policy makers wish to retain populations, they have to design political processes that facilitate participation in the decision process. A district may get its common character from natural features, distinctive buildings, economic function, pervasive affluence, or pervasive poverty.

High-poverty districts are major features of the modern city, and they are dramatic reminders of long-term historical processes shaped by discrimination, inequality of opportunity, durability of the. Their residents often do not have adequate accessibility to jobs and essential amenities. Examples include clusters of architectural styles, strip malls, highway medians, cemeteries, parks, wetlands, and wooded areas. Although patches can be created or lost quickly, paths connecting diverse patches can enhance the livability of a large, dense urban district.

Legibility can either add to or detract from the favorable qualities of a place, and historical processes are important in creating and preserving legibility. For example, some districts exhibit strong path interdependence, but others change fairly quickly due to population shifts. Examples include home and workplace, as well as town centers, urban villages, shopping centers, parks, areas of leisure, and places devoted to sharing experiences with others concert halls, stadiums, etc.

These areas are like islands; they have distinctive character, yet mobility makes them contiguous to a degree, and the places and connections between them act as an integrated system Dubois-Taine, , p. Travel between the territories may be by foot, bicycle, private car, or public transportation, but regardless of travel mode, the spaces between the lived-in territories are important features that help define the entire assemblage.

Some writers in France e. The poor quality of local transportation accentuates inequalities in the availability of important options. This is true, for example, of the home-to-work journey, traditionally. Thus, the space-time paths of people coincide less often than in the past. The many different lived-in territories and the different times people live in them, along with the nature of these modern travel corridors, underscore the need to focus on entire systems of lived-in territories. Horizontal relationships between places are shaped by the flows of people, goods, and information and also by common experiences of different places located in a common political jurisdiction.

Comparisons between places, linkages between them, and flows between them are ubiquitous. Much of the extensive scholarly literature is concerned with modeling economic specializations and the trade between places, which are relevant for work in cultural geography and sociology that explores the socioeconomic structure, character, and evolution of places over time. The literature also contains many models of systems of places, usually hierarchical in structure. People, in their capacity as economic actors—whether managers of firms, workers, or retired persons choosing a place to live—are always making explicit comparisons of places.

In a society that allows and even encourages mobility, it is essential that people evaluating their options have access to data on livability, in its many dimensions, in many different places. The choice between exit and voice, which affects how a place changes over time, never depends solely on internal or vertical characteristics—it is always made by comparing the place with other places, places one could move to, places one might move to. Livability here matters, but only in comparison with livability there. Linkages related to transportation include personal travel, complementary and competitive connections in economic trade, movement of capital, and common experiences in political places.

One common thread is the importance of air transportation, which looms larger in importance than in the previous discussion. However, transportation is not always a crucial factor in important linkages. People travel between places for many reasons, for example, to visit family, receive education, or participate in tourism or other recreational activities.

Accordingly, ease and cost of travel is a factor in the livability a person enjoys. Over time, as extended families have continued to disperse, long-distance personal travel has become increasingly important.

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Therefore, air travel options and interstate highway systems have important implications for livability. Air travel has enabled growth of certain popular U.

All of these places are important to tourists not only within the United States but also around the globe. Complementary refers to trade between producers of inputs and producers of final products. In any place, some business firms are producing final products and need transportation of inputs, whereas others are producing goods that will be inputs into final products made elsewhere.