Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Power of Place 2: Ascribed Political and Economic Power

In a previous post I discussed ideas that the power of place is intrinsic and somehow waiting for us to discover it. This is half the story. John Agnew and James Duncan in the preface to their 1989 book The Power of Place: Bringing together geographical and sociological imaginations say their intention was to raise interest in the notion of place as a medium of political and economic power. The implication of this intention is that power is created, given to or ascribed to places because places are produced and not merely pre-ordained locations. In other words, places serve as vehicles to express human powers and status. Versions of this happen on a range of spatial scales from the home to the nation, and the process of ascribing power can be from the bottom up through community action, or from the top down through as a demonstration of the authority of those who are politically and economically dominant.

Power Ascribed to Small Places
Dennis Saleebey in a 2004 paper on “The Power of Place” has written convincingly of “the power of small” for understanding person-environment relations in his discipline of social work. And he lists what he means by small: “rooms, apartments, office cubicles, gardens, cars, atria, hallways, city blocks, cells, classrooms, restaurants, bars, neighbourhood stores, and the like.” These small places are powerful because they affect us directly in various ways depending on the number of people occupying them, the level of stimulation (noises, colour, clutter), and the meanings of things such as pictures and furniture.  A very specific example of the power of small places is the 2003 phenomenological study in the journal Midwifery on the Power of Place, which investigates the power that place holds over post-natal experiences of women. Not surprisingly this study concluded that women giving birth in hospitals experienced various degrees of alienation and disempowerment, while the familiar territory of home offered feelings of support, security and control. In the latter case the home place had a quality of positive power associated with having been lived in, whereas in the former the power of place was experienced as impersonal and bureaucratic.

 
Two examples of the power of small places. Grenoble Day Care is in Flemingdon Park in Toronto. Ourplace (the name is on the green poster) is an non-profit that provides simple transition accommodation for the homeless in Victoria, British Columbia.

A very different idea of the quality of power ascribed to small places was also at the basis of a survey and report titled The Power of Place: The Office Renaissance, commissioned in 2014 by Steelcase, an office furniture company. This concluded that, in the context of changing business practices, office spaces need to be reimagined in order to promote better employee engagement and retention, and that this could be achieved by creating a palette of places in open plan offices that augment people’s interactions with each other while providing access to resources that can only found at work. Of course, Steelcase can provide the advice and furniture needed to achieve this. In other words, better office places are powerful because they promote productivity.

Sign at a conference in Vancouver sponsored by Project for Public Spaces, 2016

Creating the Power of Place in Public Spaces
At a slightly larger and public scale, the Project for Public Spaces, an American organization devoted to placemaking through the careful design of small urban spaces, has suggested that the power of place can be invoked as a solution to unsustainable development trends of the last 75 years. The argument is that power of place can be created through approaches to placemaking that include appropriate combinations urban design, smart growth, walkability, public transportation and local food. The PPS website claims grandly: “ In fact, we can reinvent entire regions starting from the heart of local communities and building outwards.” This seems unlikely, but there is ample evidence that well-designed small urban places, including the work of PPS and urban designers such as Jan Gehl, do have the power to enliven and generate community pride of place in parts of cities that were previously moribund.

Ascribing Power to Place as an Affirmation of Community Identity
Dolores Hayden’s 1995 book on The Power of Place is an account of a different type of placemaking project, one that is more about the validation of community than urban design. It involved the creation of a non-profit in downtown Los Angeles that brought together historians, planners, artists and community members to record local history not as a conventional chronology but specifically in terms of how relatively disadvantaged African American, Latino and Asian American families had experienced it in the course their everyday lives. This history, which otherwise would have been largely undocumented, was then installed in the urban landscape through memorials and artworks, thereby simultaneously affirming the important contribution of these communities to the history of the place where they lived and reinforcing their sense of belonging to that place.

          
Plaques on the wall  of renovated social housing in Dublin (top left) illustrate ways of ascribing power of place and responsibility to the community and its individuals. 

The importance of community identity is also demonstrated in a permanent exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C titled The Power of Place. The aim is to demonstrate the ways in which people have made places even as those places have changed the people in them. The places highlighted, which include Chicago, Tulsa in Oklahoma, Greenville Mississippi and the Bronx in New York, are powerful for African Americans because they are sites of individual and political struggles, and of cultural creativity. They are places where individual and community identities have been created, tested and shaped over time.

A Canadian research report Connecting the Power of People to the Power of Place offers a more academic argument to support community planning. It proposes that most people care deeply about local housing quality, transit connections, walkability and the overall quality of life in their place. It then connects these important everyday concerns with what it calls “the power of the neighbourhood” through which people can begin to work together in community organizations in order to make changes. In this sense, as in Hayden’s project and the Smithsonian exhibit, the power of place consists simultaneously in the fact that place is the shared locus of community concerns, and in the fact that place can serve as the foundation for local political actions for communities that are relatively powerless.

Place as a Production and Expression of Political Power.
At the other end of the political power spectrum the power of place operates differently. It uses specific places to impress and regulate societies. An indication of this is offered by Richard White and John Findlay (1999) in their edited book Power and Place in the North American West, where they define power as the ability of an agent, whether a person, corporation or state, to influence others or natural forces according to the agent’s will. Place, they suggest, is a spatial reality that is constructed or produced, and from this perspective it is therefore an expression of control, authority and the exercise of power through some combination of force, persuasion and manipulation. It follows that if places are produced, then they are expressions of the power of those who produced them.

The best account I know of how political power is ascribed to and presented through places is David Rollason’s 2016 book The Power of Place: Rulers and their palaces, landscapes, cities and holy places. In this he describes and illustrates with photos the messages of power in places that were created by emperors and kings from the early Roman Empire to the early 16th century. Their power was dramatically expressed in several different ways, the most obvious of which were great stone or brick palaces with extravagant furnishings. It was also conveyed by the construction of artificial landscapes of gardens, parks and forests around those palaces, and even more grandly by founding or enlarging cities that were patronized by rulers. In addition, palaces were turned into sacred sites by endowing them with holy buildings or holy objects, and monuments and memorials marked those places where rulers were inaugurated into office, or where their remains were buried.


Vaux le Vicomte, a chateau near Paris with extensive landscaped gardens, is a precursor to Versailles. It was constructed in the late 17th century as a palace and garden for Nicolas Fouquet, the superintendent of finances for Louis XIV, and its grandeur and scale make an impressive display of political power.  

Political power was displayed through places in a variety of different ways. Some of it involved a personal display of grandeur and opulence as a way to awe citizens and ambassadors and visitors. Some of it was oppressive, as manifest in forts, castles and city walls, all of which served as ways to subdue and control ordinary people while simultaneously providing security from outside enemies. Some of it was bureaucratic, through the creation of impersonal laws and the institutions to administer them. Some of it was manipulative, building circuses and amphitheatres, or creating popular festivals. Some of it was ideological, merging political power with existing or new religious beliefs, and then persuading citizens and subjects to adopt these beliefs.

Rollason’s book is a history, but it is not difficult to find similarities in present-day displays of the political power of place. In the modern developed world much of this power is bureaucratic. Nevertheless political authority is often displayed in places that have a combination of distinctive architecture and generously landscaped spaces, such as the Capitol and Mall in Washington D.C., which, as the photo on the left suggests, has similar basic elements to convey political power as Vaux le Vicomte – a grand building and extensive artificial landscape. The main differences are that the Capitol is not an opulent private residence but a building for an elected Congress, and the Mall is a public space not a private one. The Mall is also a site for nationally symbolic monuments, such as the Washington monument and the Vietnam war memorial. Many municipalities demonstrate their political authority in similar ways on a smaller scale, with city halls designed by more or less famous architects fronted by a public square where citizens can gather on special occasions. At the state and municipal levels bureaucratic power is subtly revealed through such things as standardized highway design, and signage in parks.

                                                 Toronto City Hall expresses municipal political power in its spectacular design of two curving towers embracing the council chamber (the disc object) hovering above a podium where the Mayor and councillors can stand for ceremonies, and its large public square, here being used for a celebration of the South Asian community. The photo on the right shows the view from the podium on a day when the square is not in use for an event. Compare this use of space with that of the bank towers in the financial district, shown below, which aim to maximize the economic value of the real estate they occupy by covering most of it with rectangular buildings on rectangular lots that aim to maximise the economic use of expensive real estate . The political power of place is often demonstrated by a rejection of the economic value of the land it occupies.  

Expressions of Economic Power in Place.
Unlike political power which mostly opts for distinctive architecture and open spaces, economic power is most obviously displayed through height. Thus financial districts are marked by clusters of skyscraper office buildings where wealth is concentrated and managed, and the only open spaces are ones that have been demanded by planners. In Toronto signature towers of four of the five major Canadian banks, all designed by internationally renowned architects, occupy the four corners of a single downtown intersection. Less obviously, economic power, can be displayed in sprawling campuses of corporate headquarters such as those of Apple, Microsoft and Google. But much of the economic power in late capitalist economies is discrete and distributed and has little obvious presence in places. Stock exchanges are mostly electronic hubs for trading and the signature bank towers in Toronto are now all owned by real estate investment companies, which, like pension funds, mostly eschew such popular and obvious symbols of wealth as signature skyscrapers.

 
Two versions of economic power of place. The concentration of bank towers in the financial district in Toronto 1995 expresses power by height and design – white tower is Bank of Montreal (Ed Stone, architect), slim tower to its right is Scotiabank, shorter and to its right is Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (Mario Pei), three black towers in front of those are the Toronto Dominion Bank (Mies van der Rohe). The photo on the right shows Building 1 on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond near Seattle, the first of over 100 low-rise buildings on a 260 acre site with its own shopping mall and sports fields. It is the sheer, mild-mannered scale of the campus that is impressive.

At a larger scale the growth and continued prosperity of world cities – New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and more than a hundred others – is a reflection of the fact that they have become the command centres of global trade and finance. Together they form a neo-liberal network of prosperous and powerful places that continue to attract wealth while other less powerful places languish on the periphery.

A sign in the City Hall of Mississauga, a suburban municipality on the west side of Toronto that is the sixth largest city in Canada, expresses its hope to participate in the global city network and to enhance its economic power of place while continuing to be “a place where people choose to be”.

Success in the world city network and for other places in its margins, means growth. Since about 1990 this has come to be associated with place branding as a way to attract investment and grow the economic power of a place. This connection is sometimes made explicit, for instance on the website of Resonance, a company that uses strategy, storytelling and design “to build brands that grow places, products and people,” and which includes a short video “Place Branding: Chris Fair (a consultant) on the Power of Place.” A narrower example is Foursquare, a business that offers an app for mobile phones to unlock the power of place for marketers and developers by providing instant access to local businesses and amenities.

There is a very different, bottom-up notion of the economic power of place for communities outside the world city network. The Power to Change is a UK group that aims to put business in community hands by addressing the unique working needs of people in specific locations. Early in 2017 they offered an online discussion and blog of power of place in order to facilitate community collaboration for growing businesses. Their argument is that addressing social challenges and building cohesive communities necessarily happens in particular places, and that supporting local businesses in these places is an essential part of that process. This understanding of the economic power of place aligns well with Dolores Hayden’s community power of place because both involve the community working to make a place even as the place defines the community.

  
Community based economic power of place. Two of a series of signs in store windows in Ellensburg, Washington, in 2011 that advocated local initiatives to grow business.

References

• Agnew, John and Duncan, James (eds) 1989 The Power of Place: Bringing together geographical and sociological imaginations, Unwin Hyman, Boston
• Foursquare, Unlocking the Power of Place for marketers and developers, accessed 2017 https://medium.com/foursquare-direct/unlocking-the-power-of-place-for-marketers-and-developers-introducing-pilgrim-sdk-by-foursquare-ee879c502088
Gehl, Jan1987 Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space, van Nostrand Reinhold
•Hayden, Dolores 1995 The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History MIT Press
•Lock, L.R. and H.J.Gibb 2003 “The Power of Place” Midwifery Vol 19(2) accessed 2017 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12809633
Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership 2016 Connecting the Power of People to the Power of Place: How Community Based Organizations Influence Neighbourhood Collective Agency, accessed 2017 http://neighbourhoodchange.ca/documents/2016/12/neighbourhood-collective-agency.pdf
Power to Change, 2017 The Power of Place accessed 2017 http://www.powertochange.org.uk/blog/the-power-of-place/
Project for Public Spaces, 2011 The Power of Place: A New Dimension for Sustainable Development accessed 2017 at https://www.pps.org/blog/the-power-of-place-a-new-dimension-for-sustainable-development/
Rollason, David 2016 The Power of Place: Rulers and their palaces, landscapes, cities and holy places Princeton UP
• Saleebey, Dennis 2004 “The Power of Place: another look at the environment,” Families in Society, Vol 85 (1) Jan-Mar 2004
•Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Power of Place, A Permanent Exhibition, accessed 2017 https://www.si.edu/Exhibitions/Power-of-Place-4843
Steelcase 2014 Power of Place: The Office Renaissance accessed 2017 at https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/employee-engagement/power-of-place/
White, Richard and John Findlay (eds) 1999 Power and Place in the North American West, University of Washington Press

 

The Power of Place 1: Intrinsic Power

The notion of the power of place suggests that place somehow has the potential to influence behaviour, attitudes, and beliefs. It has been widely used as a title for books, reports, websites and articles, usually with little or no further clarification of what is meant by either by place or by power, or how they connect. This post and a second one on political and economic power in place summarize the range of ways the idea has been interpreted in books, a few articles, and websites that refer to power and place in their titles. The illustrations should give some indication of how I think the interpretations are revealed in landscapes.

The main conclusion I have been able to draw is that the power of place is a versatile and adaptable idea with many different uses, few of which acknowledge any of the others. A second conclusion, which I have used as the criterion for separating my discussion of it into two posts, is that there are two distinctively different assumptions about how power operates through place. One regards power as an intrinsic quality of place: for instance in sacred sites power is seen a property of the place itself and is independent of human interventions. The other assumption treats places as conduits for expressing political and economic power, in other words, power is regarded as something that is given or ascribed to places in order to support anddemonstrate the authority of individuals, institutions or communities.

Several of the accounts I have read raise important questions about the ways power is exercised in place that I think are worth noting but I do not pursue here because they either have to be asked of particular places, or apply to the politics of place (a topic I expect to discuss in a future post). These questions are:

• Which individuals or groups possess, convey or promote the power of place?
• How is this power exercised – coercion, negotiation, regulation, or persuasion and education?• • On whose behalf is the power used? Who benefits from or is disadvantaged by the power of place?
• How is the structure and shape of a place (and its landscape) a reflection of the power structure of the society that produced and maintains it?

Three Neolithic standing stones in the village of Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales. They are thought to mark a sacred site whose spirits and power have long departed.

The Intrinsic Power of Sacred Places.
Sacred places, Jacob Kinnard (2014) writes in Places in Motion, seem to have “power fallen from the sky.” Or perhaps the power could have emerged from the ground. Either way it is intrinsic, not necessarily obvious to everyone and waiting to be revealed to or discovered by those who are sufficiently in tune with their surroundings to recognize it. Martin Gray has suggested that the sacred power of place manifests “the presence of the miraculous” and suggests that it was discovered by our ancestors who were more in tune with the energy of the vital earth than us. They sometimes marked ancient sacred places, for instance with standing stones or mounds, perhaps as a means to disclose their power to others, and some of these remain to this day, although their purpose has been long forgotten and the energy they mark is eludes most of us.

Kinnard’s book is about this fluidity of the identities of sacred places such as temples and pilgrimage sites. As with Stonehenge, Tikal or the Camino del Santiago de Compostela their original sacred power faded as the cultures that created them waned. In spite of this the fact that so many former sacred sites are tourist attractions indicates that they still have the power to inspire awe. James Swan (1991) declares that: ”Modern psychology and design have tossed aside such ideas as places of power, but our bodies and minds still hear their call and respond to them.” And intimations of the importance of the intrinsic power of place are apparent in the continuing use of the ancient Chinese techniques of geomancy and Feng Shui that are used to survey positive and negative energies flowing through place and landscape, and which are selectively employed to direct appropriate and propitious ways to situate buildings and facilities such as cemeteries.

  
The first auspicious Feng Shui site in Canada is at Christmas Hill, just north of Victoria, British Columbia, and is shown in this sign at a viewpoint overlooking the site as flanked by the positive forces of the green dragon and white tiger. It was identified in the 1890s and was probably intended as a cemetery, but opposition from local cemeteries prevented this and the Chinese cemetery was located at another auspicious site about ten kilometres away. Feng Shui requires training in the skills of geomancy to identify sites that are auspicious an inauspicious, skills that at one time would have been associated with priests. Now Feng Shui offers business opportunities for consultants, as indicated by the World of Feng Shui “good luck store” at Vaughan Mills shopping centre north of Toronto. 

A curing ceremony at a sacred place near Chichicastenango in Guatemala that is thought to have been used continuously for more than a thousand years. Photo taken 1997.

For indigenous people in North America and elsewhere this sort of understanding of the intrinsic energy and power of places remains vital. Vine Deloria and Daniel Wildcat (2001) have written that: “The Indian world can be said to consist of two basic experiential dimension that, taken together, provide sufficient means of making sense of the world. These two concepts were place and power, the latter perhaps better defined as spiritual power or life force.“ Power is the living energy that inhabits the universe – a qualitative dimension shaping thoughts, desires, habits, actions and institutions, and it operates for the most part without us thinking about it. Place is concrete and palpable, where one discovers his or her personality in the context of that living energy. Native people, they suggest, possess personalities and culture born of places (pp141-144). [For a related but slightly different angle see Michael Marker’s The Power of Place as Methodology in Indigenous Research].


The intrinsic power of place is sometimes experienced by individuals as an affirmation of their religious convictions or as life changing epiphanies. In The Varieties of Religious Experience the philosopher William James (p. 71) quotes an account of someone’s experience on the summit of a high mountain: “I looked over a gashed and corrugated landscape extending to a long convex of ocean that ascended to the horizon…What I felt was a temporary loss of my identity that was accompanied by an illumination of deeper significance than I had previously attached to life. It is in this that I can say that I have enjoyed communion with God.”  Paul Klee, the artist associated with the Bauhaus had a similar, though secular experience when he witnessed a moonrise over a town in North Africa just before World War One.  It was a theme that recurred in his art for much of the rest of his life, such as this painting called “Chosen Site” from 1927.

Intrinsic power can also be a property that some places acquire because of what happened there.  This is true of many sites of pilgrimage, of Jerusalem and Mecca, but also of places that have experienced profoundly tragic events, such as the battlefields of World War One and Ground Zero in Manhattan.

                     
On the left is the Hereford Map of the World, dating from about 1300, that shows Jerusalem as the centre of the world; the Red Sea is top right, the Mediterranean is the T-shape in the centre and bottom, and the British Isles are bottom left. The symbolism that the power of Christianity spreads out from Jerusalem is explicit. On the right is the World War One cemetery in Flanders which is the burial place of John McCrae, the author of the poem “In Flanders Fields” that has defined the way that World War One is remembered in Britain and Commonwealth countries. Many places associated with great tragedies and loss of life have acquired intrinsic power of place.

The Intrinsic Power of Geographical Place Diversity
This is a more rational notion of the power of place. The fact that Geography has often been defined as the study of places has presumably contributed to an assumption by some geographers that place is powerful because places are different, for example in a video instructional series for high school and college students titled The Power of Place, which provides case studies of 25 distinctly different cities and regions around the world.

Scupture of a geographer at work, Cleveland, Ohio

A more explicit and forceful argument is made by geographer Harm de Blij in his 2009 book The Power of Place – Geography, Destiny and Globalization’s Rough Landscape, in which he takes issue with economic arguments about the spatial flattening of the world through global trade and electronic communications. He argues that “the power of place still holds us in its thrall” because “the confines of place (the rugged terrain of the world’s environmental, cultural, social, economic and political geographies) continue to impose severe limits on human thought and action, engendering inequalities…so evident that no flat-world… postulations can wish them away.”

For de Blij the power of place lies in the persistence of intrinsic geographical differences that are expressed, for instance, in regional patterns of health and sickness, wealth and poverty, religion, culture, language and environment. A similar acknowledgement of the potency of regional diversity has been made in art. A 2017 exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta on The Power of Place in American Art 1915-1950 showed 200 works by artists who took inspiration from their surroundings in different areas of the United States, artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth and Ansell Adams.

The Intrinsic Power of Place Environments
There seem to be two very different strands of thought about how the intrinsic power of places functions. One is the cause-effect argument summarized in the title of Winifred Gallagher’s 1993 book The Power of Place: How our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions and actions. This is an updated version of the old refrain of environmental determinism, which holds that national and even personal characteristics are directly influenced by the natural environment, especially landforms and climate – for instance, the temperate climates of North West Europe were responsible for the strong work ethic and rational thought that justified imperial expansion into regions where hot climates led to laziness and indolence. Gallagher is rather more subtle than this. She does draw on some scientific evidence to support her arguments, and acknowledges the value of geomancy and Feng Shui. Nevertheless, invoking the power of the natural environments of particular places and regions as something that shapes thoughts and actions does run close to the sort of thinking that that contributed to the rise of National Socialism and genocide in World War 2, and more generally to racism and ethnocentrism. It is a way of thinking that is best avoided.

Nevertheless, environmental differences between places cannot be entirely ignored, as Harm de Blij makes clear in his account of the geographical power of place, and as we know from ecological diversity. The point is to avoid understanding them as simple causes and to understand them as the products of complex interactions between people and natural circumstances that have many different possible outcomes.


Tourists at Thingvellir in Iceland. This World Heritage Site is the boundary of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, a place where the mid-Atlantic rift is pulling apart, and the place where the Althing, considered by some to be the first democratic parliament, met from 930 A.D. to 1798.  An indication of the intrinsic power of geographical place is that so many different types of places have the power to attract tourists. Photo 2016.

An important aspect of natural environments is that ecosystems are intrinsically distinctive because of their relationship to local geology, soils and climate. Proposals for sustainability, conservation, and the expansion of local food supply have to acknowledge the distinctiveness of place environments if they are to be successful. One solution simply will not work everywhere. What is appropriate for the ecosystems of the moors of Scotland has little relevance for the temperate rain forests of the Pacific North West in North America or the deserts of North Africa. Furthermore, conservation strategies have to take into account local economic and cultural circumstances. This is the basis for the proposal in the journal Biological Conservation that approaches to conservation and sustainability need to leverage that the power of place through citizen science. In other words the involvement of well-informed local citizens is needed to achieve effective decision-making for conservation.

Protecting the Intrinsic Power of Place
Many heritage organizations seem to share the view that the power of place, by which they usually mean some combination of local landcape distinctiveness and historical character, is under threat. For example, the Campaign to Protect Rural England has a report Recharging the Power of Place: Valuing Local Significance. The notion of the power of place is not discussed explicitly in this but the concern is that old places had character, depth and promoted a feeling of belonging, and these are being undermined by new developments that tend to “disconnect people from the places around them as well as places from their past.”

In the United States the Trust for Public Land, which “creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy livable communities for generations to come,” had a 2015 donation campaign entitled The Power of Place that raised funds for parks, playgrounds and special places, and preserved 568,000 acres for public access. In other words and in this case, the power of place involves not only undertaking concrete actions in specific contexts, including fund-raising to provide or improve public spaces, but also by inference the great social value of public amenities such as parks and playgrounds.

This image of the White Horse of Uffington in southern England  is on the side of National Trust vehicle parked at the site of the actual White Horse, a 110 m long, prehistoric, stylised image of a horse carved into a chalk hillside. Its original significance is unknown but the carving has been maintained for many centuries, presumably by people who wanted to preserve it.. As the slogan on the side of the truck indicates, the National Trust has now assumed responsibility for protecting its intrinsic power of place. Photo taken 2016.

References

•Annenberg Learner and Teacher Resources The Power of Place: Geography for the 21st Century, accessed 2017 https://www.learner.org/resources/series180.html
•de Blij, Harm 2009 The Power of Place – Geography, Destiny and Globalization’s Rough Landscape Oxford University Press
•Campaign to Protect Rural England, 2006 Recharging the Power of Place: Valuing Local Significance, accessed 2017 http://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/housing-and-planning/planning/item/1896-recharging-the-power-of-place
Deloria, Vine and Daniel Wildcat 2001 Power and Place: Indian Education in America, American Indian Graduate Center, Golden, Colorado
•Gallagher, Winifred 1993 The Power of Place: How our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions and actions, Poseidon Press, New York
•Gray, Martin The Power of Place: sacred Sites and the Miraculous accessed 2017 https://sacredsites.com/martin_gray/publications/the_power_of_place_sacred_sites_and_the_presence_of_the_miraculous.html
•High Museum of Art in Atlanta 2017 Cross-Country: The Power of Place in American Art 1915-1950, an exhibition summarized at https://www.high.org/exhibition/cross-country/, accessed 2017
•James, William, 1961. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Collier Macmillan.
•Kinnard , Jacob 2014 Places in Motion: The Fluid Identities of Temples, Energies and Pilgrims, Oxford University Press
•Marker, Michael 2017 The Power of Place as Methodology in Indigenous Research accessed 2017 http://educ.ubc.ca/critical-dialogues-seminar-the-power-of-place-as-methodology-in-indigenous-research
Newman, G. et al, 2016 “Leveraging the power of place in citizen science for effective conservation,” Biological Conservation Vol 208, accessed 2017 at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320716302841
Swan, James (ed) 1991 The Power of Place: Sacred Ground in Natural and Human Environments Quest Books, Wheaton Illinois
•Trust for Public Land 2015 The Power of Place, accessed 2017 https://www.tpl.org/power-of-place#sm.0000bp5oj1egoeitu3f2k5q43clhz