For your convenience (and mine), I will discuss the concepts of location, place, and space in neat little subsections. Forgive me for any Latin, as it may not be of interest. I’ll bring it all together somehow.
We get the word "location" from locus (referring to a specific spot if read literally). From this, there’s the locative case for certain nouns, which indicates where the action is happening (Londinii, Romae, etc.). It’s a lot like looking at a map in some touristy place and seeing the star or arrow that says, "YOU ARE HERE."
retrieved from http://stagesource.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/you-are-here/
To me, the idea of location is distant and impersonal, like looking down on the Pine Barrens from the fire tower (McPhee 3). It’s important to know the address and property lines of your house, but you shouldn’t forget that it’s also a home, where people grow, fight, change, bond, and whatever else you might imagine. So if we know where we are, shouldn’t we also know what’s taking place?
Place (see what I did there?):
The word "place" isn’t only a noun, but also a verb. You can salute me as Captain Obvious the next time you see me. When thought of as a verb, place gives off a feeling of deliberation. While you place your hands on the table, haven’t you made a choice to do so (no matter how conscious)? Therefore, place comes with the notion of intent. Sewanee is a location to most people if they happen to be aware of it, but to us it’s also a place. Memories are made, lessons are learned, and you get the point. Not only do we know where we are, we directly know how to feel about it as well.
The final frontier. When you think about space on a universal scale, you realize how vast it is. So vast, that neither you nor scientists with decades of expertise have any idea of where it might end (if that’s even how it works). The universe and atoms have something in common in the sense that they are mostly "empty" space. Going back to Latin again, we get the word "space" from spatium (extent, room, interval of time). The thing about space is that it exists, regardless of whether we’re observing it or not (or caring for that matter). Space doesn’t necessarily need us, but we need space.
retrieved from http://gwally.com/avatars/000791.php
According to an online dictionary, spatium can also mean "time or leisure, as with opportunity." When we arrived at our dorm room for the first time, it was difficult to identify the space as our own. But we remembered to pack, such that if I were to visit your room (or you mine), it would be easy to see that someone lived there. This gives me the impression that although much of space is empty, it still has some potential of being filled.
While these three words have very similar meanings, there’s a reason we’re attending Finding Your Place (and not "Finding Your Location" or "Finding Your Space"). Place feels personal and depends on us.
(Here would be a very good place for a snazzy Venn diagram, but I’m still trying to find the right medium. I will work on it!)