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Space And Place: The Perspective of Experience

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  915 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A study of the ways in which people feel and think about space, how they form attachments to home, neighborhood, and nation, and how feelings about space and place are affected by the sense of time.“Since it is the breadth and universality of his argument that concerns Yi-Fu Tuan, experience is defined as ‘all the modes by which a person knows and constructs reality,’ and ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published January 22nd 2001 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published 1977)
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Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time, a snarky scrappy little girl liked to geek out on theory. She forgot about that when she grew up and lived in the land of practical applications, as she beat character-action agreement into her subjects. While uncharacteristically cleaning out her bookshelves, she came across a stash of books on folklore and place theory.

"I forgot about topophilia!" she cried. "Huzzah! I now have a decent theme to my Lit 100 course! Hooray!" She fixed herself a gin-and-tonic, and found a comf
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book so much that I wrote a short review for Construction Magazine. Here's what I wrote:

Space and Place

I just finished a wonderful book. Though written in 1977, Yi-Fu Tuan’s Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience felt fresh and new; it revealed aspects about my experience that I have taken for granted.

For Tuan experience is both intimate and conceptual; it involves complex and often ambivalent feelings. Take the title and theme of the book: space and place. Tuan explains in th
Apr 17, 2008 added it
Shelves: geography
This suffers from the same problems as a lot of Tuan's work. It's far too reliant on the Eliade/Bachelard/Levi-Strauss school of structuralist reduction, and as a result is unable to stand outside of its own solipsistic sphere. While a lot of what Tuan has to say is really quite valuable, I can't ignore the overwhelming bullshit mysticism.
Mike Bularz
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is basically a geography professor's philosophy of geography. Yi-FU Tuan analyzes how we perceive and experience ("the experiential perspective") space, distance, and time, and how we acsribe personal meanings to certain spaces.. therefore making them places. If what i'm saying seems vague or way out there, this is basically the same way the book flows, except its not that difficult to understand.
A lot of the work isn't very empirical in it's sourcing, but logically sound. For instance, us
Michelle S
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really fascinating and well worth reading. I do feel like we need to move beyond use of "primitive" and "modern" as terms at all in comparison between human societies/culture as they denote more and less advanced and linear progression between different societies that do, in fact, live contemporaneously. The book did make nuanced recognitions of the term, however and was a thoughtful exploration of various cultures and societies. I'll mostly put the use of those terms in this book down to it bei ...more
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. An academic "geography" book is not my field at all, but I found it fascinating to read Yi-Fu Tuan's insight into space, place and time. What makes something a place, setting it apart from space?

There is a lot of research involving nonliterate peoples and nomadic tribes. It's fascinating from a sociological perspective to see how these people conceive of space and place compared to the postmodern western world.

In pointing out the shift from places (towns, cities, city-stat
Boryana Rusenova Ina
Nov 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The book helped rethink my work as a visual artist, it was a hard read at times but I loved it. If you are mildly interested geography and the way 'spaces' become places, familiar and personal, you would love this book. I am currently rereading it, it takes some time to process all the information, but it is totally worth it.
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Theory is kinda my enemy, but this book is awesome. Tuan is accessible and brilliant and writes in such a kind and thoughtful voice. His ideas were instrumental in my thesis research. Love it.
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: land
Far more poetic than I would expect from a geographer! This book drew my attention to how very personal our sense of geography can be.
Billy Marino
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Most accurately a 3.5 rating. Highly though provoking, and eloquently written, Tuan's work is no doubt a classic that should be read by anyone hoping to understand how people understand themselves and the world around them. That being said, it certainly suffers from some outdated ideas surrounding concepts such as "primitive" societies and "prehistory," the latter of which is slowly but surely being phased out of use because, well, it's not all that useful anymore. Still, this book is worth the ...more
Taylor Ellwood
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an intriguing book which emphasizes the importance of having an experiential relation with the spaces and places we live in. The author explores how people live in space and place and how that influences the way space and place is designed and navigated. This is a thought provoking read that will help you experience your own space and place differently as a result of reading the book. Perhaps the most essential lesson is that we can’t rely on a conceptual framework to understand space an ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
Sometimes I wonder how many books I could have published back in the good old days when an academic study could be based entirely on personal experience, whatever that means. I don't want to be disrespectful or anything and I appreciate the book, but Tuan himself admits at the very beginning that his book is based on his experience of the world alone and although it may be a very significant contribution to spatial studies (no doubt on that), it is full of scattered ideas on space and other thin ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: landscape
I'd never read anything by Tuan when I picked up this book. His voice in the first page sounded like a dear friend to me, someone I've talked at length with over the course of many years. His theory of space and place is the one that I always come back to. I've begun to read his other books and they're excellent as well.
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Notes from paper:

Very few people have delved into the grasp individuals have about space and place (Tuan, 1977)

Tuan, 1977, explains that the thoughts and senses, as experience, go past the self and reach outside.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably more a 3.5ish that I'm rounding up. There were some bits I really enjoyed and found through provoking and others that just seemed sorta out there. None of it was bad per se, but I wish there was less out there and more of the thought provoking.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
More poetic than you would expect for a geographer. Lots of gems in his lovely writing. Covers the broad topic of how we experience space and place, personally and sociologically, from childhood to ancient cultures. Particularly enjoyed his insights into the difference between "space" and "place".
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Yi Fu Tuan, Space And Place

One time as i starting in architectural school, we were given assigment to read part 1 and 2 of the book. We thought that it must be the core/important aspect of the book, we moved on after understanding what is space and place.

Yi fu tuan tried to explain what is space and place related to human experience in architecture. In the nutshell, tuan states that space related to movement while place related to repose. It's being proved from argument that space transf
Nov 01, 2013 marked it as unfinished
Furthermore, if we think of space as that which allows movement, then place is pause; each pause in movement makes it possible for location to be transformed into place. (6)

People tend to suppress that which they cannot express. If an experience resists ready communication, a common response among activists ("doers") is to deem it private--even idiosyncratic--and hence unimportant. (6)

We have even spoken of an olfactory world, but can fragrances and scents constitute a world? "World" suggests sp
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it
I like that this guy spent time in Hawai'i... This book is kind of old and some of the stuff he talks about is like physical human experience which doesn't seem useful for me. And I also am weirded out by some of the anthro-y stuff. But he has stuff on like how people feel about their home, no matter where that home happens to be. I think that will be handy. He also has stuff about like how age influences how you experience places. Seems like that might be useful. Uh... I read this awhile ago... ...more
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
My reading choices certainly reflect my very wide range of interests. Biographies, ethnographies, fiction, social science, neuroscience, history, historical novels, and the list goes on.
I had a difficult time immersing myself into this work. Clearly it represents keen thinking and the author certainly has earned his bona fides in the subject matter.
Still, I found my mind wondering off into the mist before finishing more than a few paragraphs. Perhaps I should try this book again while sitting at
Apr 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: deep-thoughts
One of those books that can bore and fascinate at the same time. Also one that has parts that you have to read over several times. Yi-Fu Tuan was cited in "The Geography of Bliss" several times so I just had to check it out. It's part geography, history, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology. I think I'm going to have to buy this one and read it from time to time. It's a master work on how we as humans deal with space, place, and time. A whole new meaning to Hendrix's "are you experienced."
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am currently rereading this, after having read it years ago. I like it more this time around. I had remembered some rather dry social sciences type writing, but this time I'm finding it more readable. It's certainly stimulating. Tuan moves from theme to theme in the discussion of space and place, covering a variety of possibilities. Sometimes, however, I wish he'd linger rather than free-associate to the next topic.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: geographies
This book has been on my shelf for years, after hearing the author give a really lovely talk about our sense of attachment to places. That is, alas, not what this book is. Instead, it bogs down in the kind of generalist cultural anthropology that was very much current when it was published in the 1970s, with attempts to theorize, for instance, how babies learn to distinguish vertical from horizontal, or how different cultures think of their local boundaries.
Feb 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
On my second read of this book. One of those volumes that illuminates a lot of things you have felt for a long time, but have never been able to put into coherent speech or writing. Instructive and essential for anyone who aligns him or herself strongly with specific spaces and places.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Well, still no less dense than before - what extraordinary usage of language - the man is an architect of English. He draws from so many places, cultures, disciplines. Reminds me of Joseph Campbell.
Sean Watson
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Tuan justifies the importance often forgotten experiential information that is harder to articulate than ordinary communication. I suppose it may be philosophical at times, but with the purpose of expounding on experiential patterns.
M Pierce Joyce
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1970s, china, aaaaarg
Initially it was not what I expected, more of an anthropological catalog of different understandings of space than a single theory of space, but at the end he does assert more of his own understanding(s). I would highly recommend to writers who want to develop setting.
Mikaela Renz-Whitmore
Thought this would speak more to me than it did, but still worthwhile.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and useful. Absolutely a must read for any artist today- but perhaps I am biased. I just don't believe that art exists in a vacuum.
Dec 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Loving this so far...
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Fu Tuan (Traditional Chinese: 段義孚, born 5 December 1930) is a Chinese-U.S. geographer.
Tuan was born in 1930 in Tientsin, China. He was the son of a rich oligarch and was part of the top class in the Republic of China. Tuan attended University College, London, but graduated from the University of Oxford with a B.A. and M.A. in 1951 and 1955 respectively. From there he went to California to continu

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