Organizational Place Building:

Connections and Intersections

“Place is not a location for an organization or community, but, rather place is the seam of connectedness and intersections between an organization and its community. We explore the many forms of this connecting and intersecting seamS Of Place."
 David F. Thomas & James H. Banning







Place-building theory explains how an organization values place on five place dimensions: nature; social relationships; built environment; ethics; and economic relationships. How the organization values place in turn suggests its type, and its strategies for building place.

PLACEBUILDING MODEL: four types of place building organizations

Each type of place building organization differ in how they conceptualize themselves as agents, the value they assign to the dimensions of place, their organizational culture, and their strategies and behaviors.

organizations conceptualize themselves as change agents acting to improve the lives of individuals and groups in a place. 

view themselves simply as participants in places.

conceptualize themselves as investors and contributors to the well-being of places in which they operate. 

view themselves as independent agents with little to no obligations to the places in which they operate.

The Organizational Place Building Inventory, or the OPBI, is a survey instrument that serves as both a mirror and a lens through which organizations can:

1) locate themselves and their constituencies on a continuum of values and strategies ranging from exploitive to transformational (see the place building model);
2) deliberate on whether they prefer their current position or something different; and
3) develop strategies for how they might optimize their position by moving across the continuum.

Organizational Place Building: Connections and Intersections

This web site shares over 15 years of experience chronicled in the author’s new book, Organizations at the Intersections of place…in which we underscore the conclusion of the many scholars of place that “place does matter” and its powerful influence in shaping our individual every day and organizational activities. To join the “place family” we present the essence of how an organization values and builds place.

Two Place Perspectives

An organization’s perspective distinguishes two distinct viewpoints held by organizations, which encompass not only how organizations conceptualize themselves in relationship to place, but also the meaning they give to place, which then influences their goals, contributions to place, and all variety of their behavior.