02. The Practice of Place
Places are fragmentary and inward-turning histories [...]. The memorable is that which can be dreamed about a place. In this place that is a palimpsest, subjectivity is already linked to the absence that structures it as existence and makes it ‘be there,’ Dasein. But as we have seen, this being-there acts only in spatial practices, that is, in ways of moving into something different (manieres de passer a l’ autre). 
Martin Heidegger addresses space from two distinct conceptions. The first (tópos)  is static, as it was used by the Greeks. The second (extensio) introduces the notion of displacement and is typical of the moderns. In both uses space is represented from the perspective of the body (Körper). A body that gives rise to space , that structures, orders and utilizes it in creating the world, or rather, a possible image of the world.
The place needs a body to define and ascribe it.
It is from this notion of Körper that Heidegger discusses the terms to space: to open sites, to liberate places in preparation for dwelling; and to locate: meaning both to provide with something that is free for use and the possibility of one ‘to relate to his own site and from there to other things.’  Both notions provide conditions for inhabiting. Inhabiting means, on the one hand, a process of building inwards: the appropriation  of place, and on the other, a series of mechanisms that bind each specific site to its exterior. The possibility of constructing a place is linked then to the inhabitation of a previously unnamed space that has been assimilated and domesticated through the repetition and evolution of certain habits that favor the development of one particular way of life over others.
The establishment of a habit means to inhabit. To create a repeatable parameter that gives rise to a world, to a habitat, to a series of physical, mental and emotional conditions that encourage life, or rather, a certain way of life . Inhabiting implies an appropriation and the exercise of possession. It means instituting one’s own values in the shared social sphere; the possibility of instilling a defining and decisive identity in the diaspora implied by globalization. Inhabiting also entails establishing an appropriate reference point for oneself from which to articulate a relationship with an exterior world composed mainly of targets and threats .
Inhabiting articulates the link between the inner side of the domestic space, focused towards its interiority, and the exteriority of an increasingly public, publicized and shared world. Meanwhile a place is built between the domestication of an interior, an internally conceived space, and the exteriority that surrounds the respective location. This implies a re-territorialization of place. The inhabitation of a specific space articulates then a certain immutable (and immune) structure that facilitates the continuous relationship between public and the private, interior and exterior, local and global. The possibility of translating uncertainty into shared knowledge is directly related to the ability to regulate the operative space of human beings, through the practice of a specific located place.
The regular and continuous practice of one’s habits characterizes the inhabitation of place in a process that involves not only the invention of a form of a world — one that has always been there — but also produces a mechanism that repeats, transmits and advertises this invention. Inhabiting relates then to the creation of models, which in turn are linked to a standard, a pattern, to something that is susceptible of being repeated and that can serve as a guide. The creation of a world is related to the (re)invention of seeming universalities; similarities that have expanded to whole communities of individuals. After all, dwelling involves contact between the personal and the social spheres.
The Practice of Place
In practice, places are navigated in their specificity, since practice implies fixed existence in a given space. According to de Certeau, what makes practice operational and effective is the level and the context in which it is applied. It is not a matter of power or knowledge but a skill of a certain local pragmatism. This implies the optimal development of what already exists in space, since practice does not have its own content or specific location but has a dynamic, projective, and changing potential . Practice renders visible the particularity of places and contexts, making physical traits out of them. During this process, scraps of narrative and history are inserted into a bigger picture and globalized, thereby attaining their whole meaning.
The quote at the beginning of this section refers directly to this: ‘Places are fragmentary and inward-turning histories.’ They accumulate time, history and fragments of memories. But they also reunite past, present and future in an unmanifested way; in an invisible and folded manner. Only as they become a different practiced space, divorced from their original existence, do they get to manifest themselves, by being there and being so.
Place is defined by its opposition to other places and other spaces in the same way as the other is defined by its opposition to oneself. Tied to the territory, one becomes a part of it and both are united by what emerges and is perceived by the senses: smell, sound, textures, sensations, memories, life experiences, what is imagined, what is dreamt. This reveals a place that, far from being made less differentiated, has actually become inhabited, plowed, altered, modified, narrated and reconfigured by the ways it has been used and conceived and by the ways in which men and women have appropriated it. Places become not only practiced but also legible: they are interpreted in accordance to certain sets of specific and repeatable conditions. But, if the importance of the practice of place is in the way it becomes something different, one must not forget that this difference looks increasingly familiar.
Pattern, Decoration, Model
This ‘becoming something different’ can be perceived in the ways exteriority is apprehended and reconfigured by an inner expansion that aims to make legible the nature of the place it is in. The decorative pattern is a fundamental element in the domestication of nature and its transformation into a repeatable habit that induces an emotional inhabitation: the so-called home.
It is noteworthy that most of the decorative patterns used in wallpaper and upholstered furniture come from various motifs from nature. They are used to provide spaces with a (paradoxical) sense of intimacy. Leaves, flowers and other vegetation-inspired arabesques are developed for decorative motifs to be applied to paper or fabric. Although not as prevalent today, the patterns that have covered the walls of many houses in various parts of the world for many generations can serve as a metaphor for a certain quiet interiority, a domestic intimacy that evokes a domesticated natural world subject to the use and inhabitation of human beings.
The constant repetition of these patterns emulates the indefinite reiteration of the habits that anticipate the habitat. They establish a specific system of signs that display a particular comprehension of such a habitat. The decorative pattern manifests, metaphorically, the creation of a habit that anticipates a practiced place that is inhabitable and measurable. Meanwhile, exteriority has expanded, turning on itself and dissolving any separate existence from a designed interior space.
The practice of place implies these manieres de passer a l’autre where the other manifests itself as the identical, with an absolute absorption of the difference. While the place is specified through its practice, its re-territorialization, it dilutes the differentiation through this indefinite repetition of similarity, which is increasingly universalized.
 Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984) pp. 109-110.
[15 ] The tópos has a specific exception, chôra, to designate the territory of the polis.
 ‘Man exists in space to give rise to space since he has, always, prompted (eingeräumt) the space.’ Quoted by Félix Duque, in ’El Arte (Público) y el Espacio (Político)’ in Arte y Naturaleza, 5. Actas del curso, ed. by Javier Maderuelo, trans. by Laura F. Gibellini (Huesca: Diputación de Huesca, 1999) p. 101.
 Martin Heidegger, ‘El arte y el espacio’, in El Concepto del Espacio en la Filosofía y la Plástica del Siglo XX, ed. by Cosme María de Barañano, trans. by Laura F. Gibellini (Bilbao: Universidad del País Vasco, 1990) p. 55. (Martin Heidegger, ‘Die Kunst und der Raum’ (St. Gallen: Erker Verlag, 1969).
 Both in the sense of acquisition and of what is appropriate.
 According to the biology-online dictionary the term habitat means: (3) The home to a particular organism where the species will attempt to be as adaptive as possible to that particular environment. At http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Habitat [accessed 10 November 2011].
 Rosalyn Deutsche quoting Michel de Certeau, footnote nº 18, ‘Agorafobia’, in Modos de Hacer: Arte Crítico, Esfera Pública y Acción Directa, ed. by Paloma Blanco (Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, 2001) p. 298.
 Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984)