When you roll into your town and sigh, "It's good to be home," that's a product of place attachment
It's at the house with the swans, on the busy street just around the corner from our home, where I get the feeling that might indicate I have a strong place attachment - "the affectionate, almost familial connection that can form between us and where we live" (p. 16). Though you might not hear the sigh, it happens deep in my body – a sense of relief knowing the drive is almost over and I am about to plop into my own bed, almost always with the clothes I came home in still on and teeth unbrushed.
I was surprised, then, to find that according to the adapted assessment on p. 16-17 in This is where you belong: Finding home wherever you are (* I know, I know; this isn't evidence-based, but who doesn't love a buzzfeed style quiz like this? By the way, who is your style icon?), I am what you could probably call connected, though maybe not strongly connected, to where I live. This might shed some light on why I can find myself spiralling into REALTOR.ca searches, something the book's author also admits to, and how I am attuned to noticing For Sale signs in many of the places we visit, something many Americans also apparently do. And I can't be the only one who goes into open houses "just because I like to see how people decorate."
Feeling connected is pretty good, really, but how might I deepen my sense of place attachment? Following Warnick's 10 basic place attachment behaviours (the next ten chapters!), which she developed after a lot of research and even more conversations, I'm about to embark on a journey to become more connected to where we live. In doing this, I'll remember something Warnick learned through her research: "Small actions mattered. They could change a city, and they could also, I hoped, change the way I felt in my city."
In talking about place and space, I want to highlight there are tensions that accompany placemaking initiatives and efforts to revitalize neighbourhoods. For example, these can have the effect of pushing some - oftentimes long term - residents out of their homes because they can no longer afford higher rent costs that come along with gentrification. I also want to position this project I am embarking on, to love where I live, in context: because of colonisation and its lasting legacy that continues to negatively impact Indigenous Persons, I write these posts on traditional Indigenous territory:
"Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario is located on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee peoples. We are grateful for all the Indigenous people who continue to care for and remain interconnected with this land. Miigwech, Nia:wen for knowing that our ongoing survival is connected to the land" (Source: Centre for Indigegogy, Wilfrid Laurier University).
Let's see what an online book club can do – in the comments, share your thoughts on chapter one; what makes you feel connected, or not, to where you live; or, who your style icon is! You can also write to me personally. I'd love to hear from you!
And if you're new here – hi! – this blog post gives more background about why I wanted to start this online book club.