I have several issues of a glossy covered hippie publication called ‘Place’. 1972. The theme was geographic locations and the importance of those locations to the life and flora associated with it. One of the things hippies found credible were ‘ley lines’. These were supposed ancient culture’s notion of spiritual and magnetic forces on the surface of the earth that were important.
I can’t comment on the spiritual importance of 'place'. I have no form of evidence.
I can say from a life of observation that some locations are great for a business and others are terrible. I have watched locations where no business survives over decades. Many close together where one thrives and another continually fails. Even with different buildings and changes in the landscape. But business depends on humans and human impulse which may be unrelated to anything invisible or unknowable.
What brings up the issue is a discovery a few days ago. In a fairly bad part of town, San Francisco, a new and spectacular bakery has opened. Called Frena. It is kosher and run by some Israelis. Next door they are opening a snack bar focused on hummus and falafel. Across the street is a new and large Chabad House. I met the young rabbi.
So who cares?
The location is bad and has been bad for a century. It is the hangout area for drunks and druggies.
I set out in 1978 to create some humanity on this corner. I build a park for street people, with toilets, grass, a water faucet, benches and a basketball hoop. It was very popular; everyone in the neighborhood and the habitues loved it.
It closed after three years from city hall pressure and the Puritanism of all the social services. To this day there is no place in America, no park for street people.
Back to the subject. In this photo the Frena bakery is on the Left and the large building on the Right is where my ‘Drunk Park’ was. This is 6th and Minna.
Did I change the ‘place’ on that corner is some way that made it suitable for vibrant life 35 years later?