• Rain Bennett

The Storytelling Lab - Ep12: Place Science with Katherine Loflin

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

This week our guest is Dr Katherine Loflin, a globally-recognized expert in the field of Placemaking. Katherine runs a global consulting agency, where she helps communities better understand the dynamic relationship we have with our places!



I love how social media gives us the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.

Last year, I was in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign for my latest documentary, Finding Croatoan. One day, our Facebook Page got a message from a Dr. Katherine Loflin, also known as “The City Doctor.”

I had no idea what that meant but was immediately intrigued.

She told us that her production company “tells the story of places on stage and screen and through community engagement events” and to let her know if we need help in any way.

“Place Science,” she explained, can have a big effect on communities and the relationship residents have with their communities.

“It’s amazing the role history can play in the belonging and pride residents feel (regardless if they ‘agree’ with everything presented) and can be quite an economic benefit that leaders appreciate.” - Katherine Loflin

I thought she would be perfect as an “expert interview” in our film, since much of the story deals with the history and heritage of two neighboring islands and how that history causes both unity and discord.

After the interview, I knew I wanted to learn more.

I’ve studied all kinds of storytelling, but had never really dove into the world and concept of stories based on place. I had to have her on the podcast.

Besides being an awesome North Carolinian, Katherine Loflin is a globally-recognized expert in the field of Placemaking. She runs a global consulting agency where she helps communities better understand the dynamic relationship we have with our places, focusing on the importance of thriving in the cities and towns where we feel most at home.

Katherine travels all over the world helping places understand how to present themselves in the best way, so that the community can easily feel at home.

When she’s not busy being the City Doctor, Katherine produces historical fiction stage performances that tell the stories of a place.

Some of the highlights of our conversation:

  • How to tell city stories that you can’t find in history books with a focus on characters

  • Finding a thread in a story (whether that’s a character, artifact, or narrator)

  • Branding comes from purpose → you have to know your purpose before you can define your brand!

  • What do you, your company, or your place provide that isn’t concrete?

  • How to find a personal narrative (Key: be willing to be multidimensional)

  • How much of our brand is actual and how much is aspirational? -- Katherine says: 80% actual, 20% aspirational

  • Better understanding the dynamic relationship that we have with our places, and how when we are in the place where we know we belong, we are better people

  • How places can present themselves in the best way so that they can increase the attachment that helps its community feel at home

  • Owning a production company

  • How real estate agents can benefit from place science (Real estate agents are some of Katherine’s biggest consulting clients)

  • AND the complex relationship between social issues and news media

Listen in to learn more about Place Science, branding, and telling stories that can’t be found in history books.

Peace and Love,



Follow Katherine on twitter @KatherineLoflin

Or check out her website:

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Hosted by Rain Bennett (@rainbennett | Twitter) (


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