Environmental memories

Cooper Marcus, C., 1992, Environmental memories, in: Altman, I. & S.M. Low, ‘Place attachment’, Plenum Press, New York

  • Author : Cooper Marcus, C.
  • Year : 1992
  • Published in Book : Place attachment
  • Pages : 87-112
  • Abstract in English : Many individuals most powerful memories around places revolve around places (houses, neighbourhoods etc). In this chapter, the author will examine environmental memories from several viewpoints: special places of childhood recalled by young design students; the reproduction of significant childhood setting in the adult home; relations with the current home as a replay of unresolved childhood problems; and the significance of dwelling memories in old age. Three issues are important: a. the control over some portion of the physical environment is a critical component of positive self-identity; b. manipulating, molding, or decorating that space in order to create a setting of psychological comfort, which interconnects with identity or personal well-being; c. continuity with important environments and people of the past. If our sense of identity develops and changes though our lives as a result of relationships with a variety of significant people and places, then it makes sense that we might wish to echo those places in dwellings we choose, and mementos of such people within them. These acts of anchoring ourselves to times people, and places in our personal past are critical to our emotional well-being. To the opinion of the author feelings occur in space and inevitably become associated with various highly charged places; feelings cannot occur “out of space” any more than they can occur out of time” Thus any discussion of emotion and place must return to observation that the two are inexplicably connected, not in a causal relationship, but in a transactional exchange, unique to each person. The conclusion is : In the sense that memory of place is a universal human experience, we are al alike; in the sense that a person’s memories are unique, accessible, and meaningful only to that person, specific memories embedded in place cannot be fully experience by anyone else.
  • Comments/Notes : KEYWORDS: Place attachment, memory, childhood, aging.