Life Takes Place: Phenomenology, Lifeworlds, and Place Making (Paperback)David Seamon (author)
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Life Takes Place argues that, even in our mobile, hypermodern world, human life is impossible without place. Seamon asks the question: why does life take place? He draws on examples of specific places and place experiences to understand place more broadly. Advocating for a holistic way of understanding that he calls "synergistic relationality," Seamon defines places as spatial fields that gather, activate, sustain, identify, and interconnect things, human beings, experiences, meanings, and events.
Throughout his phenomenological explication, Seamon recognizes that places are multivalent in their constitution and sophisticated in their dynamics. Drawing on British philosopher J. G. Bennett's method of progressive approximation, he considers place and place experience in terms of their holistic, dialectical, and processual dimensions. Recognizing that places always change over time, Seamon examines their processual dimension by identifying six generative processes that he labels interaction, identity, release, realization, intensification, and creation.
Drawing on practical examples from architecture, planning, and urban design, he argues that an understanding of these six place processes might contribute to a more rigorous place making that produces robust places and propels vibrant environmental experiences. This book is a significant contribution to the growing research literature in "place and place making studies."
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
Number of pages: 220
Weight: 318 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
Seamon's incorporation of J. G. Bennett's progressive approximation into a phenomenology of place provides a provocative framework for a more comprehensive approach to complex aspects of place. Seamon deftly argues for the need to focus our attention on the relationality between parts and wholes brought to light through a combination of these two diverse philosophies. The work is an important contribution to place studies furthering our understanding of the significance of place in our lives while encouraging us to see place anew.
Janet Donohoe, University of West Georgia
David Seamon - place theorist par excellence - presents us with a rich, in-depth, insightful exploration into the complex dimensions of the experience of place as "synergistic relationality." If you read only one book on the phenomenology of place, let this be the one.
Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, Dean, Faculty of Environment, Simon Fraser University
David Seamon's Life Takes Place respects and celebrates the complexity of place experience, while providing a sophisticated conceptual framework as well as pragmatic tools for `reading' places. It flows out of the tradition of synergistic, holistic, qualitative models for approaching place, and appreciates the wholeness of place -- while also suggesting ways to conceptualize difference, relationality, and change processes in synergistic place studies. Life Takes Place gives architects, geographers, urban planners, psychologists, and ecologist pragmatic tools for understanding places as lived engagements and processes whereby human beings both shape and are shaped by the world of places in which they find themselves. In his unique interdisciplinary style Seamon has given us an engaging, thought-provoking, practical, and inspiring book that will speak to readers from many disciplines.
Eva-Maria Simms, Ph.D., Adrian van Kaam Professor, Psychology Department, Duquesne University
Seamon's years of substantial engagement with phenomenology of place bear fruit in this books's clear presentation of difficult theory. Additionally, his numerically based pedagogy of relationality and deft use of telling cases bring to manageable order the bewildering variety of place qualities and processes, as well as the meanings of the diverse experiences they engender.
Robert Mugerauer, Professor and Dean Emeritus, College of Built Environments, University of Washington
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