Does place matter? Sustainable community development in three Canadian communities

Journal Title: 
Ethics, Place & Environment
Journal Number: 
3
Journal Volume: 
11
Journal Pages: 
267-281

The creation of a sense of place has emerged as a goal of many community development initiatives. However, little thought has been given to the role of physical spaces in the shaping of possible senses of place. This article examines three Canadian examples of community sustainable development initiatives to demonstrate that sense of place can be shaped and constrained by the geographical and environmental features of the physical space a community occupies. This finding suggests that a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to community sustainable development is unlikely to be successful; a community's sustainable development ethic will be informed by geography. However, there is some evidence that a strong individual sense of place shaped by local space may act as a barrier to the acceptance of new people and ideas. Conversely, a strong sense of place can result in mobilization for sustainable development initiatives.

Download paper here.