Recalling a time when a building could be encompassed by a single way of thinking, Hubbard reviews how political, economic, and philosophical movements have fostered new roles for buildings and provided new ways of thinking about them. How can these ways of thinking talk to each other, much less have a conversation that can produce a building? To find a language for such conversation is the task Hubbard takes on, through an exploration of the concept of a sense of place.
In the book's closing chapters Hubbard describes the varieties of place that we can feel, and proposes a way to characterize such feelings and render them usable by designers. In so doing, he raises a fundamental question about the practice of architecture; he proposes that a theory for practice founded on the idea of creating a sense of place is not a radical departure for architects because the acts of creating place are the acts architects do, for themselves, in their daily lives.