Why Place Matters, edited by Wilfred M. McClay and Ted V. McAllister

January 21, 2015

Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, California, that “there is no there there.” Contrary to this being a putdown of her home city, she meant that because the house she grew up in was torn down, she no longer had a connection to that place. Mobility, globalization, and modern technology have eroded a sense of place. Much of the time we live in virtual reality. Although the writers of these essays differ in perspective, they all agree that place matters. It is in specific places that we form an identity, become part of community, and make our contribution to the world. We are not citizens of the world, much less the Internet; we are citizens of places. Without this sense of place and rootedness it is difficult to learn the civic virtues that make human life flourish.