Place and property : rethinking a relationship

D.W.Q. Havermans, W.J.M. Heijs, J.J.A.M. Smeets

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In real estate theory ‘place’ and ‘property’ are considered as two sides of a coin. ‘Place’ is seen as an artifact or as land, buildings and other fixed improvements on it. ‘Property’ is seen as the rights and duties of ownership. In this paper ‘place’ is conceived in a broader sense. Place is not merely a set of physical features, but – following Relph and Canter – comprises on the one hand observable activities and functions and on the other hand meanings and symbols as well. Activities refer to the behavior associated with, or intended to be housed in, a specific location. Meanings are related to people’s conceptions and descriptions of these activities in that physical environment. Besides, several scales can be distinguished (e.g. an estate, a neighborhood, etc.). This theoretical paper discusses the dialectical relation between place and property. It is stated that property has influence on, and is influenced by, all three dimensions of place. In order to be able to describe this relation we first will examine the concepts of place and property separately. After this, the relations between property and each of the three dimensions of place will be analyzed. Firstly, we will explore how property is related to the physical features of a given locus. Secondly, we go into the relation between activities and property in places. Finally, we will investigate the most complex dimension: the influence of property on the way users give meaning to their place. The paper ends with a discussion on the dialectical relation between place and property and the consequence for real estate management and development
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event18th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference (ERES 2011) - Eindhoven, Netherlands
Duration: 15 Jun 201118 Jun 2011
Conference number: 18


Conference18th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference (ERES 2011)
Abbreviated titleERES 2011
OtherERES 2011 conference


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