Where's Home?

Your Places

  1. Draw your map of Orlando (or whatever you consider your home place). What's the first thing you think of including?

  2. Describe your home place using as many "angles" as possible (e.g., historical, cultural, demographic, material, economic, etc.) Make sure to be clear about the angle you are using in each description.

  3. Describe your home place from the point of view of people from different backgrounds or groups (e.g., white/non-white; wealthy/non-wealthy; young/old; consumer or marketer, disabled, etc.). What overlaps, and what does not?

  4. What does it take to make a place into home for you?

  5. Can you identify ways in which your home place has changed for you? For example, is your home town "not the same" anymore, and if that is the case, why? What has changed about it?


Good Places & Bad Places

  1. What is your favourite place? Why is it your favourite? How do you feel when you are there? How does the place contribute to your sense of well-being?

  2. What is the best place you can imagine? What makes it so good?

  3. If you could construct the good place, who would you include in it? Why these people, in particular?

  4. What is a bad or scary place to you? What "marks" it as such?


Boundaries & Centres

  1. Where is the boundary between "home" and "not home" -- in your house, in your town?

  2. Where is the boundary between "safe" and "unsafe"?

  3. Is there a difference between "border" towns and other places? What kind of places are they?

  4. What does it mean for a place to be at "the centre"? Are there places like this? Can you think of examples?

  5. If there are centres, there are peripheries -- what would be a periphery?


Directions and Place

  1. What is "the West"? What kind of place does "West" designate?

  2. What kind of place does "European" designate? What kind of place does "African" designate? Or, more to the point, where is Europe, and where is Africa?

  3. Where is the "North"? What does "north" imply?


Urban & Rural Places

  1. What is an "urban" place? What is a "rural" place? Where is the boundary?

  2. How is a city "coded" for progress? For being "run-down"? For being "old"? For being "European"?

  3. What is a "suburb"? What kind of life (dwelling) happens in suburbs?

  4. How are urban places organized? Is there a change in their organization over time? How does this change the place that they are (or is there a loss of place)?


Foreign Places

  1. What features of place signal to you that you are "not in Kansas anymore, Toto", that is, that you are in a foreign place?

  2. Have you ever felt at home in a place you hadn't been before? What was it that made the place feel that way?


Public & Private Places

  1. Which places do you consider "public"? What makes them public? What happens there?

  2. Which places are private?

  3. Which places seem to fall between public and private?

  4. Are there places which "shift" from one to another? That is, are public places privatized, or private places public-ized? Can you think of examples? How does this happen?


Place and Social Order

  1. In what ways do architecture, design and planning affect or influence your behaviour? Can you think of examples?

  2. How do places code the past? The future? Tradition? Innovation? The natural? The artificial?

  3. (How) Does the media code its presentation of place for the above issues? Does it code place for poverty? crime? Affluence? Desirability?

  4. How are places coded for inclusion or exclusion? That is, how does the design of a place make clear who is supposed to be there and who is not, and what is supposed to happen and what is not?


Mythical and Imaginary Place

  1. Compare the places represented in one of the Harry Potter movies to the places in Lord of the Rings. How do they differ? What do the places tell you about the kinds of things that happen there?

  2. Compare the places in Bladerunner to the projected image of a contemporary city such as New York.

  3. What kind of a place is Disneyland? What is it telling you about the world?

  4. What kind of places does Thomas Kinkade depict?


Non-Place & Loss of Place

  1. How can a place be emptied of place-ness? Can you think of examples of places that have become non-places?

  2. Is globalization the absence of place?

  3. Are virtual places (e.g., web-based communities, chat rooms, MUD-MOOs) actually places, or are they no-place?