Placeways by E.V. Walter UP186

Placeways is a philosophical and historical interpretation of the experience and meaning of place. Searching for a way of knowing and living in the world that does not fragment experience or exploit the environment, E. V. Walter explores the way people in other cultures and other times have experienced place. The book develops Walter's theory of topistics -- a holistic way of grasping a place as the location of shapes, powers, feelings, and meanings. Exploring the common ground of such diverse fields as philosophy, history, urban planning, classics, cultural geography, architecture, sociology, and environmental psychology, Walter provides theoretical resources for readers who want to rescue the human environment from the loss of feeling and meaning.

“We are threatened today by two kinds of environmental degradation: one is pollution – a menace that we all acknowledge; the other is loss of meaning. For the first time in human history, people are systematically building meaningless places. However, we are a living through the end of an era, experiencing the demise of modern architecture, a revulsion from “futurism,” scepticism about planning, and a reaction against urban renewal programs. As we contemplate the ruins and dislocations of our cities, another way of understanding the built environment and the natural landscape is struggling to emerge. Today, everyone yearns for renewal, but from a holistic perspective, what does the renewal of a city mean?”