To become and remain a place – as distinct from a mere space – must be the result of a continual accretion, subject to variables and actors seen and unseen, human and non-human, physical and emotional, and as involuntary as it might seem purposeful, the sum of a set of parts. We’re all making places, all of the time.
In terms of human settlement, places don’t shift that quickly. They rest on a tacit agreement that while the product of a process of continual becoming, a place is a place, and that, for the time being at least, it remains only that place. For now, Gateshead is only Gateshead – even if contained within that designation are all the other previous places it once was, and all the identities that might be ascribed to it by individuals – the same way that the exchange-value of a £10 note is £10. In other words, it isn’t, but for our purposes, for now, we may as well agree that it is.
If this is to some extent true, then on the face of it, it seems illogical to suppose that a place can be made, in the sense that a pot or a bicycle or a wall can be made. Detroit became Motor City because of the proliferation of its automotive industry: activity which was distributed, not orchestrated, and unfolded over time. But, presumably, if we can convince enough people to agree with a new definition (Glasgow’s Miles Better), or to add another definition to those which already exist, we can at least start to influence the place that has been made.