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Traditionally, the predominant focus of Place-based educational (PBE) theories and practices has been the natural environment. The focus of this chapter will be on urban and digital environments as incubators of the PBE goals of experiential learning, interdisciplinarity, critical thinking, ethical reflection, and other goals. The framework used to interpret and analyze the various senses of place is based on the notions of the lifeworld, personalistic attitude, noesis and noema, all concepts found in Edmund Husserl’s Ideas I and II. Urban and virtual places share the characteristic of being built, which has resonances for the interactivity and engagement the learner has in regards to them. I use Husserl’s insights to concretely analyze the function different field sites play in the curriculum of the authors who talk about their experiences with PBE in this book. In particular, I look at the interplay between the learner and natural environments, urban built places, virtual places, and the “space” of an online community discussion forum. Because of the way Husserl describes places as expressions of both noesis and noema, there is commonality in all of these varieties of places as concrete contexts within which learners understand and solve problems.


This book chapter was originally published in Interdisciplinary Place-Based Learning in Urban Education. Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan

This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here:



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