Something distinct distinguishes one place from many others in the city.

It may be a park, a river-front, a distinct pattern in the urban form; a history of place, a former estate — a major street that transects a node of activity. Often these physical distinctions and places-of-note melt away, leaving only names as legacies.

The power of a place name gathers strength, becomes self-reinforcive, and expresses itself in places’ instituions: this is this region’s own version of this, of that. Kennington, the Oval, Brixton — these places have their pizza shops, kebab houses, local-groceries and doctor’s clinics, proudly attaching their service by name, to the elements associated with place.

A locus of names gathers around a central features — and patterns emerge in the urban form.

Who are these locus of names speaking to? Surely the local resident knows where they are. They speak to the nature of the city — the scale of our lives, which hurl us across cities from one distant neighbourhood to another. A place emerges as unique and self-aware only in the face of outsiders. The places within a city, a city without its own real internal borders — only imagined — relies on these locuses of names to distinguish themselves from their neighbours — their counterparts in the distant other side of the city.

A locus of names is an existential comfort in the monotony of modern urbanity.

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