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“Different cities, different stories”? Sense of place and its implications for residents’ use of public spaces in the heritage city of York

Croft, Charlie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9194-2604 (2021) “Different cities, different stories”? Sense of place and its implications for residents’ use of public spaces in the heritage city of York. Doctoral thesis, York St John University.

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Abstract

Focusing on the embodied encounter with place, this study investigates how sense of place manifests itself for residents of the heritage city of York and explores its implications for how individuals use the city’s public spaces. Recognising the significance of the public realm for civic engagement, the research seeks insights into how residents may be engaged more effectively in debates about the city’s future.

The study views sense of place through the lens of stories, considering the interplay between the “big stories”, told from positions of authority, and the “small stories” of the individual’s everyday experience of place.

The study takes a qualitative approach employing bricolage. It identifies the “big stories” of York in writings about the city and in social media whilst the “small stories” of everyday encounter with public spaces are captured in fieldwork, involving map drawing and “go-along” interviews, through which respondents address the question of what York means to them.

The study draws on scholarship concerned with assemblage and, in particular, the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, to elaborate a concept of sense of place as assemblage with three dimensions: the affective / sensorial, the political, and the temporal / mnemonic. Sense of place, seen as an opening up of oneself to the potentiality of the encounter with space, is characterised as a disrupting concept.

In considering the implications of sense of place for the individual’s use of public spaces, the study employs the notion of “urban nomad” to describe how the individual moves in smooth space, in spaces of “becoming” that are “in-between” the points of the city’s topology designated by its “big stories”. It is argued that, through reterritorialising the big stories of the city, the urban nomad uses them as a resource in the working out of their individual subjectivity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
School/Department: York Business School
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5235

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