In Rhetorics of Place issu of reconstruction magzine: Michael Benton is talking about The Importance of Public Spaces and Public Spheres. his claim is that our physical places are shaped and understood through the "public sphere" by the various "communities of meaning" competing for attention, and, in which "public opinion is formed and policy decisions are made. read on @
In This essay by Anthony M. Orum, uses his personal experience, the routine of daily activity at his local coffee shop, to illustrate the importance of places to the nature of human experience.the writer talks about his morning routine, and reflecting some thoughts on Place, identity, community and place-based philosophy, such as: "it is at this place, my coffee shop, that habitually my sense of identity – of who I am – and my sense of community – of the people who are a part of my daily life – are reaffirmed. I am who I am, in part, because these people connect with me daily at a particular place; and they are who they are for the very same reasons. In the course of our exchanges, we re-affirm daily who we are, both individually and collectively. But, beyond this, we establish for ourselves a sense of civility: we treat one another with respect, opening doors, making friendly gestures, asking about work even if it is really asking about the other. This sense of civility emerges and re-appears, day in and day out....There exists some confusion about the nature of places and the nature of space. That happens, I believe, because the two are often conflated with one another. Space is a medium independent of our existence in which there exist objects that behave according to certain natural laws. Place, in contrast, is a special site in such space where we acquire a certain sense of identity, a sense of community, a sense of a past and a future, and a sense of being at home. Place, in other words, is not simply a material form independent of us but it is a material form that has become a part of us,"
Vincent van Gogh, The night café 1888
"Place, identity and community. These words sound complex, but, in fact I believe, if we all look around ourselves, in the morning, or in the evening, there are corners and shops, grocery stores and newsstands, bars and playgrounds, where the sense of our identity as well as that of our community are constantly replenished. We are emplaced not only, or merely, because of special sites; but those sites, those places, become special because, in fact, they are the locations where our sense of who we are is constantly reaffirmed. We feel safe and secure because it is usually the same community of people, of customers, of passersby, that, through their gestures and their language, however much it differs from day to day, recreate us daily as social creatures."
photo of Pellicci cafe's customers (circa 1980)
Classic Cafes site is dedicated to the classic British cafes. the site celebrates their ambience and architecture with over 130 vintage London Formica caffs reviewed (as well as lost cafes of London Town long list), revealed and reappraised as well talking about Psychogeography of the Cafe and giving an interview with Iain Sinclair( and here as well - role down the page).