THE EASIEST WAY to explain what essence of place is, is to explain what it isn’t.

At this point, you’ve been exposed to so many photographs, stories, and movies in your life that you have vast libraries of mental images for locations all over the world. If I asked you to picture Paris, you can imagine it easily. You might see an outdoor café with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Maybe you imagine a bustling scene outside the Louvre or two lovers in berets sharing a cigarette and a quiet nighttime stroll down cobbled streets. If I suggest Amsterdam, you might picture fields of tulips, people riding bicycles, ...

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