Precedents and Sense of place

Sense of place can be described as characteristics that make a place feel unique and help foster an attachment to that place. “The term sense of place has been defined and utilized in different ways by different people. To some, it is a characteristic that some geographic places have and some do not, while to others it is a feeling or perception held by people (not by the place itself). It is often used in relation to those characteristics that make a place special or unique, as well as to those that foster a sense of authentic human attachment and belonging.” –Wikipedia

Many of us strive to create this sense of attachment to the sites we design and the most valuable tool we have for creating it is history. Each place has grown into itself over the course of its life time and factors unique to its location have shaped the way it looks and feels. Landscape architects can capitalize on these features and use them to create a place that is unique, while still being harmonious with its surroundings. When designing neighborhoods in the tidewater region of Virginia, we strive to have developers build houses that have always been appropriate for the area. Illustrations below from East Beach, Norfolk give an overview of what types of houses have always been built in the area:


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