Life Takes Place (Paperback)

Phenomenology, Lifeworlds, and Place Making

By David Seamon

Routledge, 9780815380719, 220pp.

Publication Date: April 26, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/18/2018)

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Life Takes Place argues that, even in our mobile, hypermodern world, human life is impossible without place. Seamon asks the question: why does life take place? He draws on examples of specific places and place experiences to understand place more broadly. Advocating for a holistic way of understanding that he calls "synergistic relationality," Seamon defines places as spatial fields that gather, activate, sustain, identify, and interconnect things, human beings, experiences, meanings, and events.

Throughout his phenomenological explication, Seamon recognizes that places are multivalent in their constitution and sophisticated in their dynamics. Drawing on British philosopher J. G. Bennett's method of progressive approximation, he considers place and place experience in terms of their holistic, dialectical, and processual dimensions. Recognizing that places always change over time, Seamon examines their processual dimension by identifying six generative processes that he labels interaction, identity, release, realization, intensification, and creation.

Drawing on practical examples from architecture, planning, and urban design, he argues that an understanding of these six place processes might contribute to a more rigorous place making that produces robust places and propels vibrant environmental experiences. This book is a significant contribution to the growing research literature in "place and place making studies."

About the Author

David Seamon is a Professor of Architecture at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, USA. Trained in geography and environment-behavior research, he is interested in a phenomenological approach to place, architecture, and environmental design as place making. His books include A Geography of the Lifeworld (Routledge Revivals Series, 2015). He is on the editorial boards of Environmental Philosophy; Phenomenology & Practice; Journal of Environmental Psychology; and Journal of Architectural and Planning Research. He edits Environmental and Architectural Phenomenology, which in 2014 celebrated twenty-five years of publication.