Understanding Place

This is a picture I took while in Italy in the city of Venezia. This photo speaks to not only things that I am interested in, as well as a piece of family history, but also symbolic of life. These first two are fairly intervened, I grew up with an Italian family who had only recently immigrated to America as far back as my grandmother and her siblings. Italian heritage was a large portion of my youth and family dynamic. I was able to visit the county my junior year of high school, fascinated with the history built into the country. I remember taking tours and as they explained the newest building to us they would say things like “This is one of our newer churches built in the 1600’s”. This is so interesting to observe, especially as an American, living in and around Boston I have lived and visited some of the oldest portions of our country. These monuments and structures are dwarfed in age compared to even some of the newer structures built in Italy.

 This scene in Venice helps bring together Williams’ idea of a bedrock of democracy as being pivotal to transportation, movement of supplies, bringing people together, and many other economic functions including tourism. Not only does this scene represent this idea of place, as the picture was taken on one of Venice’s many bridges, a very happening and centric place so of the city. Where culture, tourists, merchants, citizens, laborers, all walks of life converge, mingle, and go about the dance people call life. When examining the actual photo you see the life blood of Venice, the river ways, toured by Gondolas and small boats. These river ways allow people to move about the city with ease, transport goods, make people money, and connect one another. The river being literally attached to the street blends this idea of nature being a part of our everyday lives, something that can help us and is connected to us in a way. The water is right up against the buildings and cityscape, moving up and down, in and out with the tide. I agree with Kingsolves without need to integrate wilderness into our lives. A huge part about being human is our connection to the Earth, the environment is something we have learned to live with a be a part of. Much of it was destroyed but through different ways we were able to help rebuild natural habitats. Learning to live in harmony with the environment, using it for our human purposes but also allowing it to live in its more natural state. As humans we learn to become more codependent on the environment, using it, enjoying it, but also helping take care of it to make a better, more sustainable world.  Since the environment holds some of the utmost importance for our species survival it should be at the forefront of policy making decisions, while at the same time policy makers should respect the basic constitutional rights that are involved when considering land use. Individuals should be allowed to own property and due what they want on it, but should be held to certain environmental and waste standards. We only view wilderness as untouched, but in truth everything we now inhabit used to also be a part of the wilderness, but through sheer force humans removed the wilderness part from our environments

3 Replies to “Understanding Place”

  1. Venice is a beautiful example of a healthy way that ecofeminism can be applied to a cities building methodology in order to create a beautiful, pro nature, pro feminist city. This unity reminds me of ‘The Parc de Bruxelles’, in Brussels, Belgium. This park is a huge park in the center of Brussels, that is so large, you can’t see the city from the center of the park. It takes you away from the bustling city life, and surrounds you with nature. This unity is a bit different than the one in Venice, but it’s still there and considers the Earth and humans relationship to it. You make the argument that this represents Williams’ bedrock of democracy theory, and I would definitely agree that this integration works to create the bedrock of democracy. These spaces create what I believe Terry Tempest Williams’ refers to in her piece, Homework, when she states “I believe that spiritual resistance – the ability to stand firm at the center of our convictions when everything around us asks us to concede – that our capacity to face the harsh measures of a life, comes from the deep quiet of listening to the land, the river, the rocks.” Having these sorts of space anywhere, from the middle of a city, to the middle of nowhere, are essential to human’s spiritual feelings. Thinking about the feminist aspect of these places, these parks and cities are avalible to many people, regardless of backgrounds, but they are sanctioned by the laws of those cities, which could be restrictive in some circumstances. Overall, I believe city, nature, hybrids are very impressive ecofeminist approaches that have been applied to our world, and make our connections with nature stronger.

  2. I like your comparison of venice bringing man and nature together. Though we have separated ourselves from nature by building our own, we have forgotten we in ourselves are in fact nature. Nature is a place, but it is also a being. We consider nature a place outside of ourselves, but yet so many are called back to the wild and feel more at peace there. We have started to destroy nature, not by making our own homes and places of living, but by deciding we have a right to take land as we see fit. by spreading out so far and using the world as ours instead of as part of us. You say people have a constitutional right to land, which is not stated in our constitution, but besides that rights are not given, but decided by the people as what everyone should have the freedom to do. Maybe we should have the right to private land, but we should not have the right to all the land in the world if we want to consider our natural environment. There are many rights we should have that we do not in america specifically, as well as rights we no longer truly need. Overall though, we need to be more aware that by destroying nature we are only destroying ourselves. That we can have our cities, but we cannot have such a spread that it is merely houses and farmland in between the cities. We can have suburbs, but we need to be mindful of where and how we build. We need to have miles of “nature between our man made habitats, not miles of houses between our “nature”.

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