Toward an Understanding of Place in Virtual Worlds

Authors: Merrill Johnson*, Colorado State University
Topics: Landscape, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: Place, virtual worlds, Second Life
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Wilson B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The concept of place lies at the core of geographical thinking. While geographers have a long history of conceptualizing place, relatively little work has been done to apply these conceptualizations to virtual places. Over the next decade, and certainly beyond, people will be faced with the possibility, and even the need, to engage electronic worlds in terms of new forms of personal expression and a consequent reconceptualization of place. The purpose of this brief presentation is to provide a literature-based review of the meaning of place to geographers, and how this meaning may be extended to accommodate the special challenges of virtual-world settings. A new definition and possible types of places are proposed. The persistent, online, 3-dimensional virtual world called Second Life will be used as the principal point of reference, although newer worlds will be incorporated where possible.

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