Space and place relationship

(Edward Relph;  Place and Placelessness)

Space is not a void or an isometric plane or a kind of container that holds places. Instead, to study the relationship of space to a more experientially-based understanding of place, space too must be explored in terms of how people experience it.

Relph says that there are countless types and intensities of spatial experience:  “a continuum that has direct experience at one extreme and abstract thought at the other…” (Relph 1976, p. 9).

On one hand, he identifies modes of spatial experience that are instinctive, bodily, and immediate—for example, what he calls pragmatic space, perceptual space, and existential space.

On the other hand, he identifies modes of spatial experience that are more cerebral, ideal, and intangible—for example, planning space, cognitive space, and abstract space.

Each of these modes of space-as- experienced has varying intensities in everyday life. For example, existential space—the particular taken-for-granted environmental and spatial constitution of one’s everyday world grounded in culture and social structure—can be experienced in a highly self-conscious way as when one is overwhelmed by the beauty and sacredness of a Gothic cathedral; or in a tacit, unself-conscious way as one sits in the office day after day paying little attention to his or her surroundings.

Relph  sees space and place as dialectically structured in human environmental experience, since our understanding of space is related to the places we inhabit, which in turn derive meaning from their spatial context.

Zie ook Urban discursive dimension

Zie ook Urban Morphology