Think Twice Before Naming Places After Famous People

Names of Places and Streets (Picture Taken from the BBC News Article Website)

In her BBC News article, Clare Spencer shows that every act of naming is pregnant with meaning. This is of course also true for public places. One interesting aspect about the naming of places is that attitudes can change over time.

This is something that can happen in several ways. Nelson Mandela per example went from a left-wing-favourite to an almost uncontroversial figure, whereas “George Washington, once celebrated as presiding over the creation of the US constitution, is now also criticised by some for his association with slaves.”

Furthermore, Derek Alderman, professor of geography at East Carolina University, points out that “renaming a street is about claiming a certain voice, and a certain power over how your city looks. It is about remembering the specific person but it is also about making sure there is a greater democracy in how cities look.” In addition to that, naming places also forms a labelling function.

Read the whole article here.

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