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Geography   >   Changing Places

Defining Place

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Changing Places

In this course, Professor Richard Phillips (University of Sheffield) explores changing places. In the first module, we think about how geographers define place as a concept, looking at some key threads within this. The second outlines one of these threads – that places are shaped by their connections to other places and the flows of people and things which run through them. In the third module, we turn to the idea that places are distinguished from merely locations by the meanings people give them, and outline some key sources of place meaning. We conclude with a fourth module on changing places, in which we define place as fundamentally changing and think about how the flows coming into places and meanings people give to places change over time.

Defining Place

In this module, we think about how geographers define the concept of place, focusing on: (i) some broad themes and variations in common understandings of place, and crucially the idea that place is more than just location – it also includes an emotional component; (ii) Stephen Daniels argument that geographers should not only study specific places, but also “the very idea of place” ; (iii) three key threads in the definition of place – that they are defined by flows of goods and people, that they have meaning, and that they are characterised by change; (iv) the contested nature of ideas about place.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Phillips, R. (2023, March 06). Changing Places - Defining Place [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Phillips, R. "Changing Places – Defining Place." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Mar 2023,

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Prof. Richard Phillips

Sheffield University