Topophilia is a strong sense of place, which often becomes mixed with the sense of cultural identity among certain peoples and a love of certain aspects of such a place.
“People think that geography is about capitals, land forms, and so on. But it is also about place — its emotional tone, social meaning, and generative potential.”
— Yi-Fu Tuan,
History of the term
Alan Watts’s autobiography, In My Own Way (1972), starts with the sentence: “Topophilia is a word invented by the British poet John Betjeman for a special love for peculiar places.” But it was W. H. Auden who used the term in his 1948 introduction to John Betjeman’s poetry book Slick but Not Streamlined. The term later appeared in the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard‘s highly influential The Poetics of Space (1958). Yi-Fu Tuan employed the term for the feeling-link between person and place as part of his development of a human geography.
James W. Gibson, in his book A Reenchanted World (2009) also argues that topophilia or “love of place” is a biologically based, close cultural connection to place. Gibson says that such connections mostly have been destroyed in modernity but argues that “more and more people are trying to reinvent them.”
And then there is