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Space and Place According to Relph,

Norberg-Schulz, and Oldenburg


October 28, 2011 by marystewart 1 Comment Uncategorized

Edward Relph is a Geographer and author of Place and


Placelessness. Relph categorizes place as less of where
something is on a map and more what happens there and
your emotional connection. I would view this definition
sort of like being drawn somewhere or avoiding a spot not
because of the architecture but because of what experience
you associate with happening there. I thought it was very
unique that Relph incorporated the social sense of
insideness into the actual insideness of a space (Relph). A
space is not just the walls that form it but what goes on
within the walls as well. Relph describes placelessness as
the bare minimum, removing everything that is invested in
what makes a place and space. I enjoyed his quote by
Stephen Klutz saying You have seen it, heard it,
experienced it all before, and yet you have seen and
experienced nothing (Relph).
Christian Norberg-Schulz is the author of Phenomenon of
Place. Norberg-Schulz studied works on phenomenology
and how it attempts to explain how people receive sensory
material about the physical world. His concept on place is
made up of environmental character (Norberg-Schulz).
This character includes many things that Relph would
disassociate. Norberg-Schulz feels more that places are
made up of tangible and visible qualities. Norberg- Schulz
categorizes inside and outside by their natural and physical
barriers (Norberg-Schulz). Space is noted by a structures
actual role in the physical location, or the three
dimensional organization of elements (Norberg-Schulz).
Norberg-Schulz introduces the idea of character when
describing the atmosphere of the space. This notion is likely
the most emotional of his ideals. Character in his sense is

the basic aura a room or establishment gives off and it


should comply with standards. The character is still
achieved through materials and construction (NorbergSchulz). Norberg-Schulz interprets Kevin Lynchs analysis
of elements to be things, with character, and meaning
(Norberg-Schulz).
Oldenburg wrote about the problem of place in America.
The idea of the text was not to define space and place but to
demonstrate the absence of them. Oldenburg gave examples
of how our American suburbia has eliminated tradition and
connectivity that used to allow for an emotional tie to space
and place. The recent atmosphere of suburban homes is not
like the walkable communities where you ran into your
friends at the corner store (Oldenburg). I agree with the
points made about how Europe may have less space for
residential areas, but with that space they accomplish more
connections (Oldenburg). I found Oldenburgs solution for
our neighborhoods interesting. It was proposed that we
improve domestic, productivity, and social aspects
(Oldenburg). The productivity relates to the blurb about
housewives being bored and playing tennis (Oldenburg).
The dilemma of productivity was a new concept to me.

Works Cited
Norberg-Schulz, Christian. The Phenomenon of Place.
Macdonald, Larice and.The Urban Design Reader. New
York: Routledge, 2007. 125-127.

Oldenburg, Ray. The Problem of Place in America.


Macdonald, Larice and. The Urban Design Reader. New
York: Routledge, 2007. 138-148.
Relph, Edward. Prospects for Places. Macdonald, Larice
and. The Urban Design Reader. New York: Routledge, n.d.
119-148.