Title: A place-based perspective on marine and coastal space


Europa XXI 36 (2019)



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Over recent years the sea has experienced re-interpretation as marine space, or more specifically as marine spatial planning (MSP) space. This article uses the concept of place as a contrasting interpretation to space, referring to place-making as a metaphor for the various ways in which meaning is created in the sea. As expressions of an intimate connection between experienced materiality and symbolism, places (unlike space) are never abstract, but always carry emotional dimensions. Place attachment can be the result of everyday profe ssional links, recreational activities, or living by the sea, and arises despite the greater intangibility of locations in the sea. As a result of their greater physical intangibility, places in the sea may require more frequent (re-)making than places on land, pointing to the inherent importance (and value in their own right) of the associated (socio-cultural) processes of place-making. The ability to engage in place-making is thus an important avenue for expressing place-based values, an understanding which could be used to enrich marine spatial planning processes. Focusing more on the intimate connections people have with places in the sea and how quality of place matters to them could turn MSP into an enabler of place-making, becoming more of a rich and continuous dialogue around the multiple ways in which people interact with and value the sea.


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