The historic environment is more than just mere material remains, it is central to how we see ourselves and our identity as individuals, communities and as a nation. In a transient and rapidly changing world, interest in who we are and where we’ve come from is increasingly important. Our heritage is therefore an inheritance that helps define our future by inspiring new ideas and providing solutions to problems we face today – including opportunities to learn from experience.
In this way heritage greatly enriches the character of the places where we live and work and helps us to distinguish one from another. These distinguishing features are often described as the ‘sense of place’ for any given location.
The term ‘sense of place’ is used to refer to the feelings people have for particular locations and the meaning they gain from a relationship with these places. A sense of place is one of the fundamental ‘felt’ senses a person develops along with the sense of self and sense of community. A sense of place is commonly associated with local areas: the places where people live and work.
The characteristics of sense of place can be stated as:
- Physical features that make a place special or unique
- Features that create an abiding connection to a place
- The spirituality of a place