This summer, I’ve returned to two places from my past. One was the place where my family has lived for nearly 20 years. The other was a place that I lived and worked for a majority of my adult life. Each of those places evoked memories – memories of laughter, tears, friends, and family. In each of these places, I still felt – in varying degrees – my ‘place’ within those locations. As I walked down familiar streets, I could remember specific conversations on park benches or when that house was painted blue. Re-visiting these places was more than just a nostalgic moment; it was a reminder of the ‘place’ that my embodied person inhabits in this world. It is this sense of ‘place’ within places that I want to reflect upon and suggest one of the reasons why a place maintains our ‘place’ within it. I’ll begin with the latter.
In his book, Culture Making, Andy Crouch offers this definition of culture: ‘Culture is what we make of the world. Culture is, first of all, the name for our relentless, restless human effort to take the world as it’s given to us and make something else.’  Building on Crouch’s definition, culture is what we make of the places where we are. I want to suggest that it is our making of culture within a place that preserves our ‘place’ within it. When we’ve made ‘culture’, we have fundamentally changed the place we inhabit. Therefore, when we return, our imprint – our contribution – is still active in that place. To illustrate what I mean, perhaps a helpful contrast would be what one experiences when traveling. If one travels to Rome, for example, there is no doubt (in my mind, at least) that one will take in the delights of that place – art, architecture, food. And it is possible that one might be influenced or impacted by the culture that is experienced. However, when one leaves, there is no ‘place’ within that place created by the traveler. The reason is because culture has been consumed rather than made, a point that Crouch also makes later on in his book. 
A consideration of place in culture-making provides not only the context but also the materials by which we make. Again, Crouch: ‘…we start not with a blank slate [in our culture-making] but with all the richly encultured world that previous generations have handed to us.’  Place helps us to discern our cultural ‘materials’. As an example, in one of the places I visited this summer, I came across a nature path that friends and I had cleared during one of my high school summer breaks. The path was still there, not as clear as we left it, but the path – the creation of culture in a specific place – reminded me that I still had a ‘place’ in a town I haven’t lived in for ten years.
To me, it seems that there is something fundamentally human about place-making. We are called to be cultivators in Genesis; we flourish as humans when we have a ‘place’ that roots us in an ever-shifting world. As we look forward into a world where place is increasing virtual and we can ‘be’ anywhere, how do we create ‘places’ that we can inhabit? Is it possible in an environment where there is no tangible place where culture is being made, for example, on Facebook or another virtual community? Andy Crouch, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 23.
 Ibid., 69-73.
 Ibid., 73.