Place Matters: Understanding Sense of Place for Communities, Policy, & Planning



Posted on: Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 3:49pm

David J. Trimbach to Present “Place Matters” June 28 

The recipient of the 2018 James W. Scott Research Fellowship, Dr. David J. Trimbach, will give a talk entitled “Place Matters: Understanding Sense of Place for Communities, Policy, and Planning,” at Western Washington University from noon-1:00pm on Thursday, June 28 in Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor). The presentation is free and open to the public.

Do you feel attached to your hometown or to your grandparents’ country of origin? What characteristics come to mind when you think about your favorite city or your ideal natural landscape? Does your neighborhood pride influence your likelihood to move or engage in stewardship? These questions, among others, reflect what scholars call “sense of place,” which refers to identification, attachment, belonging, and meaning associated with place, as developed through embodiment, discourse, experience, and engagement. Sense of place provides the ability to assess shared understandings, and the potential to predict perceptions and behaviors. As such, sense of place offers a creative language and approach to unravel an individual’s relationship with their environment.

In his talk, Dr. David J. Trimbach will discuss sense of place and how it relates to communities, policy, and planning. He will highlight examples pulled from various pertinent case studies and his research on minority Russian speakers in post-Soviet Estonia, and his current collaborative regional ecosystem recovery work with the Puget Sound Partnership, particularly the agency’s use of sense of place as a social measure or metric of human wellbeing in the Puget Sound region.

Trimbach is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University. He received his PhD in Geography from the University of Kansas in 2016. He is currently housed at and works in close collaboration with the Puget Sound Partnership in Washington State. His work focuses on sense of place, identity, governance, citizenship, human-environment interactions, and public policy. As a community-engaged, place-based, and policy-driven scholar, he seeks to better understand and create more equitable and vibrant communities.

The James W. Scott Regional Research Fellowship is offered annually to scholars who conduct significant research using archival holdings at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (a unit of Western Libraries Heritage Resources). Funds are awarded in honor of the late Dr. James W. Scott, a noted scholar of the Pacific Northwest region, and a founder and first director of CPNWS.

This talk is offered as part of the Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers program at Western Libraries. For more information about this event, please contact Ruth Steele, CPNWS Archivist,, (360) 650-7747.

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