We are always in place. Some people, like our missed family friend, Barbara Rivera, live their whole lives making a specific place better. Each of us values a place in different ways. Some characteristics are immediately evident and measureable. First judgements are often made of these. Others take time, familiarity and careful attention to uncover.
Benefits and values associated with any specific place differ based on the degree of connectedness and familiarity the observer has with it. For example, both the poorest and the richest neighbourhoods can be very unfriendly and unwelcoming to the outsider. The associated street life differs based on recognizability.
What truly makes a place great is people, organizations, institutions, and commerce coming together, even for enlightened self interest, to work on improving its sociability, activity, access, and image. Barb knew how.