A heuristic look at “Sense of Place” for planning

  • Mikiko Terashima School of Planning, Dalhousie University
  • Kate Clark School of Planning, Dalhousie University
Keywords: Sense of place, Place of sense, Environmental stewardship, Health and well-being


Despite considerable progress in conceptualization of sense of place through multiple disciplines, there is still room for further clarification in light of its utility for planning research and practice. This discussion paper posits that sense of place can be conceptualized for planning based on two factors: 1) the type of function for using the concept (evaluative, leveraging and enhancing); and 2) the unit at which a sense occurs, or place of sense (individual-, place-level, or an interaction of individual, place, and other people). Through some illustrated examples, we demonstrate how the conceptual framework we propose can be used to better identify specific sense of place attributes and associated planning actions. While doing so, we also attempt to relate sense of place discourses with the roles of planning in environmental stewardship and promotion of health and well-being, which have previously been less articulated.