Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America

Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America

Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America

Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America


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Contemporary American society, with its emphasis on mobility and economic progress, all too often loses sight of the importance of a sense of place; and community. Appreciating place is essential for building the strong local communities that cultivate civic engagement, public leadership, and many of the other goods that contribute to a flourishing human life.

Do we, in losing our places, lose the crucial basis for healthy and resilient individual identity, and for the cultivation of public virtues? For one can't be a citizen without being a citizen of some place in particular; one isn't a citizen of a motel. And if these dangers are real and present ones, are there ways that intelligent public policy can begin to address them constructively, by means of reasonable and democratic innovations that are likely to attract wide public support?

Why Place Matters takes these concerns seriously, and its contributors seek to discover how, given the American people as they are, and American economic and social life as it now exists; and not as those things can be imagined to be in some utopian scheme; we can find means of fostering a richer and more sustaining way of life. The book is an anthology of essays exploring the contemporary problems of place and placelessness in American society.

The book includes contributions from distinguished scholars and writers such as poet Dana Gioia (former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts), geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, urbanist Witold Rybczynski, architect Philip Bess, essayists Christine Rosen and Ari Schulman, philosopher Roger Scruton, transportation planner Gary Toth, and historians Russell Jacoby and Joseph Amato.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781641771177
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 634,039
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Wilfred M. McClay is the SunTrust Chair of Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Ted V. McAllister is the Edward L. Gaylord Chair and Associate Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction: Why Place Matters Wilfred M. McClay 1

GPS and the End of the Road Ari N. Schulman 10

Place-Conscious Transportation Policy Gary Toth 48

"I Can't Believe You're from L.A.!" Dana Gioia 59

Cosmopolitanism and Place Russell Jacoby 70

Making Places: The Cosmopolitan Temptation Mark T. Mitchell 84

Place / Space, Ethnicity / Cosmos: How to Be More Fully Human Yi-Fu Tuan 102

The Demand Side of Urbanism Witold Rybczynski 120

Metaphysical Realism, Modernity, and Traditional Cultures of Building Philip Bess 130

A Plea for Beauty: A Manifesto for a New Urbanism Roger Scruton 149

Place and Poverty William A. Schambra 162

The Rise of Localist Politics Brian Brown 171

The New Meaning of Mobility Christine Rosen 180

Making American Places: Civic Engagement Rightly Understood Ted V. McAllister 188

Place as Pragmatic Policy Pete Peterson 201

Local History: A Way to Place and Home Joseph A. Amato 215

The Space Was Ours Before We Were the Place's Wilfred M. McClay 238

Acknowledgements 259

About the Contributors 263

Notes 267

Index 289

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