Monday, September 12, 2016


What is topophilia?

"The word 'topophilia' is a neologism, useful in that it can be defined broadly to include all of the human being's affective ties with the material environment. These differ greatly in intensity, subtlety, and mode of expression. The response to environment may be primarily aesthetic: it may vary from the fleeting pleasure one gets from a view to the equally fleeting but far more intense sense of beauty that is suddenly revealed. The response may be tactile, a delight in the feel of air, water, earth. More permanent and less easy to express are the feelings that one has toward a place because it is home, the locus of memories, and the means of gaining a livelihood" - Yi-Fu Tuan, Topophila, p. 93

Affective ties with the material environment... in other words, the love of place. This is an important idea that impacts the way humans interact with the world. Special places make us more connected to ourselves, other people, and the environment. This will be the subject of a short writing assignment.

What is a place that you love? A special area in nature that brings back strong memories, a place you love to visit because of the things that have happened there. Maybe it's a built-up space, like the home of a grandparent or an amazing restaurant? Maybe it's a natural location like a beach, mountain vista, bike trail, or fishing spot. Or in between, like a cabin. Maybe you'd like to write about your earliest experience with a natural world, a powerful memory in nature. What is the inventory of this location -- the topography, components, objects, characteristics? What do your senses remember? Consider the visually elements, but also smells, textures, and sounds. What is the story of this place... what is your history with it?  Think about this and write leave a comment below with your response. Start with a word document -- do your writing there (no more than one page) and then copy/paste into a blog comment here. You can also submit a hard copy if there is some reason you do not want your writing piece online.