Prospect and Location: natural and Made Places on the Gold Coast
Gold Coast City is naturally endowed with a beautiful sea and land-scape. Its visual prospect is so ever-present and commanding that adjoining human-made places could be forgiven for falling short of the standards set by nature. But built places need not be overwhelmed. As we know from great towns and cities of the world they have the potential to lift to a comparable level of significance to that of natural places. When both are in harmony something very special happens. The natural environment can be discussed in terms of 'genius loci' or 'spirit-of-place' theory, while made places are appropriately discussed under 'sense-of-place' theory which premiates the human mind and hand in the making. When 'sense-of-place' deteriorates to the level of a place having no distinguishing characteristics, then 'placelessness' may be appropriate way to describe the scene. With the Gold Coast rapidly growing and the city maturing as Australia's sixth largest population, while it's 'spirit of place' remains ever-present, in parts of the Coast transitional tensions have developed as a result of the balance between sense of place and spirit of place. But place-change is ever-present and consequently introduces dynamics into concepts of place. Within the Gold Coast culture of fast changing places milestone initiatives that arguably strengthen sense of place are discussed in terms of fixed, semi-fixed and un-fixed elements of built places as well as in terms of their symbolism, functioning and contribution to the city's urban vitality. Conjectural interventions are also discussed that could steer Gold Coast to a healthy harmony across urbanisation, sense of place and spirit of place. KEYWORDS: Spirit-of-place, Sense-of-place, Placelesness, Urbanisation.
12th International Cities Town Centres & Communities Society 2011 Conference: Cities with people in Mind
Architectural History and Theory