'New York is my place.' What's all the fuss about?

This week we spoke to Grace Lee about balancing rest and work, combating Asian hate and living in New York which you can check out here.

As Grace Lee spoke about how New York is her place, it got me thinking why do our place and space matter so much to us. When I speak about space and place I'm talking about where you feel at home on a smaller scale such as your personal space but also on a larger scale such as a city that just feels right for you.

So, in typical Kirsty Taylor fashion I headed to google scholar to find out and ease my curious mind and perhaps some of yours. First of all, having a 'place' or a 'space' (whichever you prefer) allows you to have a permanent home base which gives you the stability that we all so often crave. No matter where you go in the world you always have a place to return to and because you are there so often you don't really feel it changing as fast as the rest of the world. Unless, of course, it's being gentrified and this is perhaps one of the reasons why gentrification of your home feels so personal. You can read more about gentrification here.

Secondly, in a way your 'place' forms your identity, it is a part of who you are and often it determines how you live. If you live in New York you are more likely to be part of the hustle culture that now exists in the world than if you live in the Lake District. Similarly, if you live in the Lake District you are more likely to slow down and enjoy the little moments than if you live in New York. Of course, these are vast generalisations but you get the idea. A big part of how you live is controlled by the society you live in (whether you chose it or not).

Thirdly, sometimes it's not actually about the 'place' but instead the community that surround you. If you were to take your circle with you to somewhere else in the world you may be just as happy as you are there but you also may not.

Over time, places and spaces change sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong ones. As a result, New York may be your place in 2020, but might not be in 2050. Similarly you change as time goes on so London may be your place in your early twenties but not in your early thirities. So the next time you catch yourself or someone saying '...is my place' take a moment to consider why that is, and don't worry if you haven't found yours yet you will someday.

Personally, 'my place' right now is Edinburgh, where is yours? Let me know in the comments!


- Göran Therborn, 'Why and How Place Matters ', in Oxford Handbook of Political Science, ed. by Robert E. Goodin(Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011).

- National Trust, (2019), Why Places Matter to People [online]. Swindon: National Trust. Available from: https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/documents/places-matter-research-report.pdf [Accessed: 14th of May 2021].

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