The Importance of Place and Connectedness


Place as Territory and Place as People

An understanding of place is fundamental to the concept of livability, including transportation-related aspects of livability. People live in places, move within and between places, and depend on the movement of goods to and from places. The individual characteristics of places are vital in determining quality of life. The internal structure of places and the differences between places also matter greatly in terms of socioeconomic inequality. However, it is difficult to measure what matters about places because their nature depends on both physical and social characteristics. They not only have a location, territorial domain, and natural environment, but also are social constructs, shaped by human behavior and interactions. One must avoid the temptation to think of place only as a location or a piece of territory, despite the fact that many data are collected and presented for a specific territory, especially territory delimited by political boundaries. A place is distinguished by its people, markets, governments, and institutions, as much as it is by its physical landscape and natural resources, transportation systems (including streets and roads), buildings, and boundaries. Like livability and sustainability, place is an ensemble concept.

A definition of place that recognizes the importance of location or territory and people has implications for the interpretation of livability

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