Business council report targets ‘sense of place’ | SierraSun.com

Business council report targets ‘sense of place’

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

The newest Sierra Business Council publication takes on a subject that may seem esoteric to many readers ” a community’s “sense of place.”

But the Truckee-based business organization argues, in a compilation of examples and tools from across the West, that a sense of place defines most distinct communities.

Whether it’s a town’s preserved history, natural surroundings or culture, the term defines why residents choose to live in a place and their connection to that location.

The manual, which is available on the Internet, follows the Sierra Business Council’s tour of nine communities throughout the Sierra Nevada, talking about cultural tourism and historic preservation.

“Almost all of the communities want to highlight their uniqueness,” said David Polivy, SBC’s natural resources program manager.

Creating a unique sense of place in a community not only benefits residents, but also pulls in tourists that invest more time and money in a community, Polivy said.

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The guidebook mirrors some of the local efforts in regional planning, including the Tahoe Basin’s Pathway 2007 effort that allows community members to voice their ideas on everything from public access to transportation before a new plan is written.

But a sense of place is about much more than housing, transportation and the natural environment, according to the report. It notes that residents attach value to the societal and human connections they make in the town.

The publication notes that Truckee’s Truckee River Day is a great example of a volunteer watershed day that defines a sense of community.

PlacerGROWN, which promotes produce and farm products grown in Placer County, is another example the SBC gives as a way to spur the local economy while preserving farmland ” two things that contribute to a sense of place.

Along with the information in the report, the publication also presents tools to improve a sense of place ” such as governmental incentives for historic preservation and methods to solicit the public’s vision for a community.