Sense of Space, Place and Belonging

Throughout this course, we have been discovering how “sense of place” has been constructed at Colorado College throughout the school’s history. To understand what sense of place means, we read an excerpt from Dolores Hayden called “Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History,” and another by Jennifer E. Cross titled, “What is Sense of Place?” These articles show the complexity of what sense of place is. Cross gives the definition of sense of place by specialists in five different fields, and tries to explain sense of place through “understanding people’s attachments to places by thinking about relationships to place and community attachments as two separate but related aspects of sense of place.”  Hayden starts to define sense of place by explaining how complicated the word “place” is, then defines sense of place: “People make attachments to places that are critical to their well-being or distress. An individual’s sense of place is both a biological response to the surrounding physical environment and a cultural creation, as geographer Yi-Fu Tuan has argued.” For our projects, we have taken these understandings of sense of place and have connected them to various aspects of Colorado College’s history.


The Utes and other Indigenous Native Peoples land was stolen by the founders of Colorado College. The College both recognizes and honors the original inhabitants who first settled the area. It is now part of the Colorado Colorado’s mission to claim its history of white supremacy and attempt at reconciliation with Native people. In order to establish a sense of place, students at Colorado College must understand that the institution was founded on stolen land.

Cross, Jennifer E. What Is Sense of Place? Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. November 2-4, 2001. Accessed February 12, 2019.

Hayden, Dolores. “The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History. Cambridge: MIT Press. 1995. Pp. Xvii, 296. $30.00.” The American Historical Review, 1996. doi:10.1086/ahr/101.3.937-a.