Reviewing Research In Place Attachment Sociology

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Interest in people-place dealingss grows. Literature hunt in the most popular databases and major diaries with entries such as topographic point fond regard, topographic point individuality and related footings, has resulted in over 100s documents published within the last 40 old ages. At present the literature on people-place relationships is rich with empirical consequences, conceptual differentiations, and writers ‘ ain ways of forming the stuff. This paper reviews research in topographic point fond regard and organizes the stuff into three subdivisions: the conceptualisation, forecasters and effect of the concept. Research spread is discussed for future surveies.

The conceptualisation of topographic point fond regard

For some clip, the chief trouble the research worker has encountered when covering with the survey of topographic point fond regard has been the diverseness of attacks available at the theoretical degree every bit good as the empirical. There was no understanding sing its name, definition or methodological attack best suited to cover with it. We can happen many similar footings such as community fond regard ( Kasarda & A ; Janowitz, 1974 ) , sense of community ( Sarason, 1974 ) , topographic point fond regard ( Gerson et al. , 1977 ) , topographic point individuality ( Proshansky, 1978 ) , topographic point dependance ( Stokols & A ; Shumaker, 1981 ) , etc. , such that it is frequently hard to state whether we are speaking about the same construct with a different name or different constructs. This terminological and conceptual confusion has earnestly blocked progresss within the field as many writers have pointed out ( Giuliani & A ; Faldman, 1993 ; Unger & A ; Wandersman, 1985 ) . Presently, there seems to be a certain consensus in the usage of the term “ topographic point fond regard ” .

In general, topographic point fond regard is defined as an affectional bond or nexus between people and specific topographic point. For illustration, for Shumaker and Taylor ( 1983 ) it is “ a positive affectional bond or association between persons and their residential environment ” ( p.233 ) . Hummon ( 1992 ) considers it “ emotional engagement with topographic points ” ( p.256 ) , and Low ( 1992 ) defines it as “ an person ‘s cognitive or emotional connexion to a peculiar scene or surroundings ” ( p.165 ) . These definitions may be appropriate to depict this particular feeling toward certain topographic points, but they have the drawback of being excessively equivocal and do non let us to distinguish fond regard from other closely-related constructs such as, for illustration, residential satisfaction, which has been defined as “ the positive or negative feeling that the residents have for where they live ” ( Weidemann & A ; Anderson, 1985 ; p.156 ) . For this ground, we consider it necessary to farther delimit it. Towards this purpose, we fall back on what we understand to be the chief feature of the construct of fond regard: the desire to keep intimacy to the object of fond regard ( Ainsworth & A ; Bell, 1970 ; Bowlby, 1969, 1980 ) . This characteristic, although is inexplicit in many definitions and operationalizations of the construct, has seldom been explicitly emphasized. If we incorporate this specific belongings into the old definition of topographic point fond regard, it could take the follow signifier: a positive affectional bond between an person and a specific topographic point, the chief feature of which is the inclination of the person to keep intimacy to such a topographic point.

The measuring of topographic point fond regard

Although some have treated the people-place relationship as one-dimensional, conceptual and empirical surveies have indicated its multidimensionality ( e.g. , Bricker & A ; Kerstetter, 2000 ; Williams et al. , 1992 ) . Widely accepted within the literature is Schreyer et Al. ( 1981 ) every bit good as Williams and Roggenbuck ‘s ( 1989 ) planar conceptualisation of topographic point fond regard.

Topographic point dependance. Place dependance reflects the importance of a topographic point in supplying characteristics and conditions that support specific ends or coveted activities of tourers. This functional fond regard is embodied in the country ‘s physical features, and may increase when the topographic point is near adequate to let for frequent trial.

Topographic point individuality. Place individuality is defined as “ the connexion between the ego and a peculiar scene that consists of a aggregation of memories, readings, thoughts and related feelings about physical scenes every bit good as types of scenes ” ( Proshansky et al. , 1983, p.155 ) . Reviewing the many and sometimes cloudy definitions of topographic point individuality in the literature, this survey identified for major conceptualisations which are deserving separating on theoretical evidences ( see figure 1 ) .

A first axis in the literature has been the impression of “ extended ego ” — the thought that topographic points are experient cognitively as “ portion of the ego ” . Self-expansion theory ( Aron et al. , 1998 ) posits that people possess an built-in motive for self-expansion, or a desire to integrate others ( herein the topographic point ) into their construct of “ ego ” . The more an entity ( topographic point ) is included in the ego, the closer is the bond that connects them. Attachment develops over clip, a cognitive reorganisation takes topographic point such that the ego expands to include the entity. Peoples develop a positive feeling a “ unity ” with the entity ( Aron et al. , 1992 ) and tend to see the entity ‘s resources as their ain ( Mittal 2006 ) .

A 2nd axis revolves the impression of “ ecological ego ” ( Bragg, 1996 ) , besides captured in the construct of “ environmental individuality ” , whereby persons develop a subjective sense of suiting into, or being portion of their physical environment. This has some resonance besides with the construct of “ rootedness ” , which has been examined in the context of residential scene ( McAndrew, 1998 ) . Therefore, I view the sense of a topographic point as suiting into or belonging to is another aspect of topographic point individuality.

A 3rd axis is related to the impression of congruousness between ego and topographic point, reflecting the thought that the topographic point is in some manner similar to, or lucifers, the values and personality of the person ( e.g. , Sirgy & A ; Su, 2000 ) . Place-self congruousness has been examined in relation to go topographic point picks ( Berrli et al. , 2007 ) . I refer to place-self congruousness as the sense that the image one has of a topographic point is similar to, or consistent with, the image one has of one ‘s features as an person.

Low congruousness

Topographic point


Self-extension 2. Environmental Fit 3. Place-self congruousness


Topographic point

Topographic point

high congruousness




Figure 1: Three theoretical topologies of topographic point individuality

Other conceptualisations of the people-place relationship exist. Emotions are evoked when fond regard is strong because emotions are built-in to the human-place bond. Riley ( 1992 ) emphasized affectional fond regard as the “ affectional relationship between people and the landscape that goes beyond knowledge, penchant or opinion ” ( p.13 ) . Although there is a considerable grade of convergence among these constructs, they have typical features. I think all three factors compose the concept of topographic point fond regard.

Forecasters of topographic point fond regard

The most penurious classification of forecasters of topographic point fond regard is into three unsmooth classs: socio-demographic, societal and physical-environmental. Here I present a brief drumhead, supplemented with some extra findings.

Socio-demographic forecasters. Variables that have been studied under this label include abode length, age, societal position and instruction, place ownership, size of community, holding kids, mobility and its scope. Of these variables, abode length has been found to be the unquestionable winner- the most consistent positive forecaster of fond regard to residence topographic points ( normally vicinities ) as found by Bonaiuto et Al. ( 1999 ) , Brown et Al. ( 2003, 2004 ) , Fleury-Bahi et Al. ( 2008 ) and a figure of others. Closely related to the variable of abode length is that of mobility. Mobility can take different signifiers, and therefore it can impact topographic point adhering in assorted ways ( Gustafson, 2002 ) . Apart from frequent alterations of a lasting abode, mobility may take a signifier of transposing ( van der Klis & A ; Karsten, 2009 ) ; of frequent concern trips outside one ‘s metropolis or town within the state or longer trips abroad with long periods of absence from place ( Gustafson, 2009b ) ; or of tourer travel to assorted, frequently alien topographic points. These different signifiers of mobility may ensue in different degrees of fond regard to lasting topographic points of abode: some may diminish fond regard ( Gustafson, 2009 ) but others can even increase it, consistent with the stating that “ absence makes the bosom grow fonder ” .

Social forecasters. The normally studied societal forecasters of topographic point fond regard are community ties. Those have been operationalized in many different ways but are all steps of “ local societal capital ” , i.e. , of strength and largeness of vicinity ties and engagement in informal societal activities in the vicinity ( Bonaiuto et al. , 2006 ; Brown et al. , 2004 ) . Along with abode length, strength of community ties has been systematically found to positively predict topographic point fond regard. Scopelliti and Tiberio ( 2010 ) studied homesickness among pupils of Rome and found that the strength of this emotion was predicted by the sensed strength of community ties within the place town. On may inquire about the causal way of this relationship: close societal ties in abode topographic point may do the topographic point more meaningful and therefore lend to emotional bonds, but topographic point fond regard may increase willingness to come in into contacts with neighbours, or both, emotional bonds with the topographic point and strong community ties may be parts of one syndrome, typical for illustration of people with less instrumental attitudes towards their closest milieus. Equally long as topographic point research workers study forecasters and non mechanisms of fond regard, these inquiries will non be answered.

Physical forecasters. Although in the bulk of surveies the most consistent forecaster of fond regard to residence topographic point are societal factors ( strength of local ties ) , the physical variables have value, excessively. And sometimes jointly explicate a higher per centum of discrepancy of fond regard than societal factors. Among environmental characteristics which were found to impact vicinity fond regard are quiet countries, presence of aesthetically pleasant edifices, presence of green countries ( bonaiuto et al. , 1999 ) and deficiency of sensed incivilities ( Brown et al. , 2003 ) . Physical characteristics may ease societal contacts and therefore influence topographic point fond regard indirectly. Sugihara and Evans ( 2000 ) showed that among occupants of go oning care retirement communities, the best forecasters of topographic point fond regard were such physical characteristics as close walking distance to the cardinal activity edifice, little functional distance to neighbours, and entree to a shared, enclosed out-of-door garden.

The comparative importance of societal vs. physical forecasters sometimes depends on extra factors. Fried ( 1984 ) found that the comparative importance of physical vs. societal factors depended on the socio-economic position of occupants: nonsubjective characteristics were better forecasters of fond regard in higher categories, whereas the strength of societal ties was in lower 1s. Pretty et Al. ( 2003 ) observed that the comparative function of the two types of factors was age-dependent. In a survey carried out in rural Australia, topographic point fond regard in older people was best predicted by societal factors, but in younger 1s by the grade to which the topographic point enabled activity and the completion of of import life ends. The comparative function of physical vs. societal characteristics besides depends on topographic point graduated table. Lewicka ( 2010 ) found that although societal factors ( peculiarly vicinity ties ) were the overall strongest forecaster of fond regard in four metropoliss of cardinal Europe ( Poland and Ukraine ) , physical characteristics, such as size of edifice, upkeep, degree of country personalization, presence of verdure, and type of lodging, predicted fond regard to the edifice and vicinity better than to metropolis territory and to metropolis.

Consequences of topographic point fond regard

In most surveies place fond regard is assumed to be a good thing, and some grounds supports this claim. Theodori ( 2001 ) studied random samples of four different communities in Pennsylvania and showed that community fond regard was a important independent forecaster of single wellbeing. The known close association between local ties and topographic point fond regard, described in old subdivisions, shows that attached community members have a better local societal capital than the non-attached 1s ( Kasarda & A ; Janowitz, 1974 ; Mesch & A ; Manor, 1998 ) . Leiwicka ( 2010 ) found in a big study that place-attached individuals, compared to non-attached 1s, demonstrated a higher sense of coherency, were more satisfied with their life overall, had a stronger adhering societal capital and vicinity ties, were more interested in their household roots, trusted people more, and were by and large less egoistic, as shown by higher tonss on the “ slef-transcendence ” dimension ( benevolence and universalism ) of Schwartz ‘s value circumplex.

Major attending of topographic point research workers looking for effects of topographic point fond regard has been focused on place-related activities. They frequently assume that place-attached people are more willing to prosecute in activities on behalf of their abode topographic point or, in natural high-amenity countries, in activities aimed at saving of national resources. However, as is known from research on attitude-behavior consistence ( Ajzen & A ; Fishbein, 1977 ) , this nexus is far from absolute, and hence grounds that attachment leads to societal battle is assorted. On the other manus, ample grounds exists for a nothing or negative association between topographic point fond regard and battle in place-related activity. Lewickia ( 2005 ) , in a representative national sample, did non happen a direct relationship between topographic point fond regard and willingness to be involved in assorted signifiers of societal activity ( and on the block degree, she even found a negative association ) , nevertheless, she found a consistent indirect nexus between the two steps ; the mediating variable was neighborhood ties.

Place-related activity may take different signifiers: it may back up environment-protecting alterations, or it may imply opposition to alterations and protection of position quo. The latter has become known as the NIMBY ( non in my back pace ) consequence, the concept criticized in the more recent literature or its strongly negative intensions ( Devine-Wright, 2009 ) . In several surveies a positive relationship was found between strength of emotional bonds with a topographic point and opposition to introduced alterations. Vorkinn and Riese ( 2001 ) studied attitudes toward development of a hydroelectric works among occupants of a little rural community in Norway and found that fond regard to the affected country predicted the negative attitude towards the undertaking, while fond regard to municipality was a forecaster of the attitude of credence. A similar findings was obtained by Bonaiuto et Al. ( 2002 ) , who studied attitudes of two big groups of local and non-local occupants of two Italian parts towards transmutation of the country into national Parkss. The local group that derived net incomes from the traditional economic system of this country was the most endangered by the undertaking and, as expected, demonstrated a significantly stronger topographic point fond regard and regional individuality, and a significantly more negative attitude towards the undertaking, than the non-local, and therefore unaffected, group.

There was besides a negative relationship between topographic point attachment/regional individuality and support for the national Parkss. Divine-Wright and Howes ( 2010 ) carried out an extended survey among occupants of two little towns in North Wales, located at the sea seashore, confronting the planned building of two 100 wind turbines. The attitude towards the undertaking was associated with the significance attached to the abode topographic point and it differed in the two towns ; if the town was preponderantly associated with scenic beauty, topographic point fond regard was correlated with emotions of choler and menace towards the undertaking and with resistance behaviour. The writers conclude that the interceding factor between fond regard and action is the significance attached to topographic points, that is, the grade to which the planed alteration is perceived as destructing the topographic point ‘s individuality. The stronger the menace, the stronger the dealingss between fond regard and action.

Directions for the hereafter surveies

Residential scenes and immediate community have been the focal point of topographic point attachment research for a long clip. Rootedness to a peculiar topographic point or venue is considered a valued end in much of the surveies. “ Home ” is often used as a spacial metaphor for relationships to a assortment of topographic points, every bit good as a manner of being in the universe ( Hayward, 1975 ; Moore, 2000 ) . However, the construct of place has frequently been interpreted literally, reenforcing a position of the abode as a specifying rubric in people ‘s lives ( Manzo, 2003 ) . This does non accurately reflect the nature of everyone ‘s experience of topographic point. As McElroy ( 1996 ) point out, her “ place ” is non one stationary location, but the procedure of going itself. “ Home is what you find when you get at that place. Home is any topographic point on this planet ” ( McElory, 1996 ; p.29 ) . This impression echoes Relph ‘s ( 1976 ) thought of insideness and outsideness that motion does non needfully connote outsideness, instead it reflects the fluidness of the lifeworld.

New tendency emerges to research topographic points beyond the abode boundary. This includes literature on people ‘s experiences with natural out-of-door diversion topographic points such as National Park, woods, wilderness topographic points ( Kyle et al. , 2004 ; Gunderson, 2006 ) , summer houses ( Beckley, 2003 ; Williams & A ; McIntyre, 2001 ) , and 2nd places ( Van Patten and Williams, 2008 ; Stedman, 2006 ) . Gustafson ( 2001 ) tried to understand the full scope of meaningful topographic points, both residential and nonresidential scenes, and found that about half of participants discussed nonresidential topographic points or larger geographic countries entirely when depicting the important topographic points of their lives. As Manzo ( 2005 ) suggested, natural scenes were different from work or place environments and provided chances for geographic expedition of topographic point.

Another way would be process-oriented, and should take at clarifying procedures through which people from their meaningful dealingss with topographic point. Theoretical advancement can be achieved through closer contact with promotions in developmental theories, peculiarly theories of early fond regard, but besides through surveies that refer to the importance of self-continuity for lifespan developmental procedures. We should besides see whether some constructs developed within the phenomenological tradition, used to depict procedures of creative activity of sense of topographic point, can be reinterpreted within different conceptual models, such as theories of motor knowledge or Gibson ‘s theory of affordances, and therefore make a new theoretical and empirical push.

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