There are three identity types – Social, personal and place. Psychologists’ are usually interested in social and personal identity but place identity is extremely important in not just where we call ‘home’, but why we do and what impact it has on our lives. Recently I attended a talk by Mhairi Bowe who is finishing her PhD in Psychology. She questions ‘what is home’?’
(my old house - still home)
During Mhari’s talk I was intrigued with what she was saying about how place represents past, present and future and they are permanent features of life. We are always in some environment, whether it the other side of the world or snuggled up in bed, but these places makes us feel. And these places completely take over how we feel even if subconsciously and contribute to the way we act in this environment. This shows how place affects our wellbeing. If somewhere feels like home we feel safe, warm and comfortable. People described home as somewhere you can ‘go and lock the world out’, a place you can ‘safely flop’ and a place that caters to ‘mans instant needs’. For me if I have my UGG boots, a cup of tea and custard creams and my MacBook (including WIFI!) I would reckon I’m pretty sorted. Now rereading this I suppose this is a consumers point of view in a consumer and media driven world, proving how things have ridiculously changed. But home can be anywhere and home can travel around with you. It is simply somewhere you are at ease and have a sense of self. This is vital to wellbeing.
This point got me thinking about others and how people less off, immigrants, refugees, armed forces and such like see ‘home’. Place evokes emotion, memory and thought. You have a relationship with the environment you are in and for me this is something I am intrigued to find out more about for my designing life. (I shall keep you updated!)
If I put the word ‘PlaceBook’ out to you, what would you think? A place? Or one of Facebook’s new revoltingly addictive games?! Well not quite. PlaceBook is a new website developed to being people and place together, to share peoples’ identities and stories which make us remember and enjoy, potentially improve our wellbeing so check it out if you too and intrigued by the relationship between people and place.