Theory of Attachment and Place Attachment. In M. Bonnes, T. Lee, and M. Bonaiuto (Eds.), Psychological theories for environmental issues.

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In book: Psychological theories for environmental issues, Chapter: 5, Publisher: Aldershot, pp.137-170
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Abstract
The theme of this chapter has its general reference frame in that sector of human experience represented by affect – feelings, moods, emotions, etc. – which people experience in v arious ways, forms, degrees, with varying awareness, with reference to the places in which they are born, live and act. Also, in relation to the other persons who live and operate in the same places. We have all experienced some form of affective bond, either positive or negative, pleasant or unpleasant, with some place or other – a place that can be related to our current or past experience (childhood places), sometimes to the future (the place we dream of living in, where we would like to go/return to), and more or less restricted in scale: the house in which we live or have lived, a certain room in the home, the area around the home, the neighbourhood, the city, the country... Each of us is familiar with peculiar aspects, nuances, of this affective world. It not only permeates our daily life but very often appears also in the representations, idealisations and expressions of life and affect represented by art products – in the first instance literature, but also other genres. Indeed, not only do we acknowledge the existence of an affective bond with places, but also the importance that this can have in qualifying our existence, whether positively or negatively. And not just our individual, private, existence, but also the existence of entire human groups. There is perhaps no feeling of mutual affinity, community, fraternity among persons, whether formal or informal, institutionalised or not – nor feeling of diversity, aversion, hostility − that is not in some way related to matters of place, territory and attachment to places. For better or worse, this has far-reaching implications. The feeling we experience towards certain places and to the communities that the places help to define and that are themselves defined by the places − home (family, relations, friends), workplace (colleagues), church (fellow worshippers), neighbourhood (neighbours), city, country, continent – certainly has a strong positive effect in defining our identity, in Giuliani, M. V. (2003). Theory of attachment and place attachment. In M. Bonnes, T. Lee, and M. Bonaiuto (Eds.), Psychological theories for environmental issues (pp. 137-170). Aldershot: Ashgate. Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 138 filling our life with meaning, in enriching it with values, goals and significance. However, it can also have negative, and sometimes even disastrous, consequences. For example, the ethnic conflicts that have exploded for some time now in the former Yugoslavia, or the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. These conflicts stem from an equal attachment to the same place, which puts them in competition. In these cases it may be objected that, rather than attachment to a place, it is political, economic and religious issues that are at stake. But these issues themselves lead back more or less directly, more or less in good faith, to questions of attachment to the territory. Suffice it to consider the importance in Jewish culture of the idea, or rather the feeling, of a "Promised Land", of the greeting "next year in Jerusalem" that kept a people, physically scattered to the four corners of the Earth, spiritually united for centuries. As a result of experience and common sense and general knowledge, affect related to places therefore exists, and is of a nature that, albeit not fully explicit and defined, nevertheless seems to distinguish it from other affective "systems" (towards objects, persons, ideas, etc.); furthermore it is perceived as one of those important factors that sometimes help and sometimes hinder our equilibrium, our material and spiritual well-being. While this amply justifies the adoption of the topic as an object of scientific investigation, the transition from intuitive awareness of the existence of affective bonds with places to a scientific knowledge of the phenomenon is still far from satisfactory. The interest in systematic investigation and the formulation of theories concerning affective bonds that individuals develop with their physical environment took a long time to emerge in environmental psychology. This does not imply a lack of awareness, but only that the phenomenon was long considered to be of secondary importance vis-à-vis the primary objective of studying the cognitive and behavioural aspects of such relationships. The very varie ty of terms used to refer to affective bonds with places − rootedness, sense of place, belongingness, insideness, embeddedness, attachment, affiliation, appropriation, commitment, investment, dependence, identity, etc. – seem to indicate not so much a diversity of concepts and reference models as a vagueness in the identification of the phenomenon. Only recently has there been any convergence concerning the "technical", as opposed to the generic, common language use, of the term attachment, and interest in the topic is beginning to spread outside the strict people -environment research field (cf. Fullilove, 1996). Nevertheless, we
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5 Theory of Attachment
and Place Attachment
MARIA VITTORIA GIULIANI
The theme of this chapter has its general reference frame in that sector of
human experience represented by affect feelings, moods, emotions, etc.
which people experience in various ways, forms, degrees, with varying
awareness, with reference to the places in which they are born, live and
act. Also, in relation to the other persons who live and operate in the same
places.
We have all experienced some form of affective bond, either positive or
negative, pleasant or unpleasant, with some place or other a place that
can be related to our current or past experience (childhood places),
sometimes to the future (the place we dream of living in, where we would
like to go/return to), and more or less restricted in scale: the house in which
we live or have lived, a certain room in the home, the area around the home,
the neighbourhood, the city, the country...
Each of us is familiar with peculiar aspects, nuances, of this affective
world. It not only permeates our daily life but very often appears also in the
representations, idealisations and expressions of life and affect represented
by art products in the first instance literature, but also other genres.
Indeed, not only do we acknowledge the existence of an affective bond
with places, but also the importance that this can have in qualifying our
existence, whether positively or negatively. And not just our individual,
private, existence, but also the existence of entire human groups. There is
perhaps no feeling of mutual affinity, community, fraternity among persons,
whether formal or informal, institutionalised or not nor feeling of diversity,
aversion, hostility that is not in some way related to matters of place,
territory and attachment to places. For better or worse, this has far-reaching
implications. The feeling we experience towards certain places and to the
communities that the places help to define and that are themselves defined
by the places home (family, relations, friends), workplace (colleagues),
church (fellow worshippers), neighbourhood (neighbours), city, country,
continent certainly has a strong positive effect in defining our identity, in
Giuliani, M. V. (2003). Theory of attachment and place attachment. In M. Bonnes,
T. Lee, and M. Bonaiuto (Eds.), Psychological theories for environmental issues
(pp.
137-170). Aldershot: Ashgate.
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 138
filling our life with meaning, in enriching it with values, goals and
significance.
However, it can also have negative, and sometimes even disastrous,
consequences. For example, the ethnic conflicts that have exploded for
some time now in the former Yugoslavia, or the decades-long conflict
between Israelis and Palestinians. These conflicts stem from an equal
attachment to the same place, which puts them in competition.
In these cases it may be objected that, rather than attachment to a
place, it is political, economic and religious issues that are at stake. But
these issues themselves lead back more or less directly, more or less in
good faith, to questions of attachment to the territory. Suffice it to consider
the importance in Jewish culture of the idea, or rather the feeling, of a
“Promised Land”, of the greeting “next year in Jerusalem” that kept a
people, physically scattered to the four corners of the Earth, spiritually
united for centuries.
As a result of experience and common sense and general knowledge,
affect related to places therefore exists, and is of a nature that, albeit not
fully explicit and defined, nevertheless seems to distinguish it from other
affective “systems” (towards objects, persons, ideas, etc.); furthermore it is
perceived as one of those important factors that sometimes help and
sometimes hinder our equilibrium, our material and spiritual well-being.
While this amply justifies the adoption of the topic as an object of
scientific investigation, the transition from intuitive awareness of the
existence of affective bonds with places to a scientific knowledge of the
phenomenon is still far from satisfactory.
The interest in systematic investigation and the formulation of theories
concerning affective bonds that individuals develop with their physical
environment took a long time to emerge in environmental psychology. This
does not imply a lack of awareness, but only that the phenomenon was long
considered to be of secondary importance vis-à-vis the primary objective of
studying the cognitive and behavioural aspects of such relationships. The
very variety of terms used to refer to affective bonds with places
rootedness, sense of place, belongingness, insideness, embeddedness,
attachment, affiliation, appropriation, commitment, investment, dependence,
identity, etc. seem to indicate not so much a diversity of concepts and
reference models as a vagueness in the identification of the phenomenon.
Only recently has there been any convergence concerning the
“technical”, as opposed to the generic, common language use, of the term
attachment, and interest in the topic is beginning to spread outside the strict
people-environment research field (cf. Fullilove, 1996). Nevertheless, we
Place Attachment 139
shall see how this term is still far from designating a specific phenomenon
(Altman and Low, 1992; Giuliani and Feldman, 1993).
The caution with which affect has been approached in the
psychological world is not however peculiar to environmental psychology.
Cognitive psychology, dominant in the '70s, is only indirectly related to the
role of affect in mental life and the term is of substantial significance only in
the field of clinical psychology. Only in the '80s have cognitive psychologists
rediscovered affect, although their interest is mainly circumscribed to the
emotions (“hot” emotions) or to that ambiguous space between cognition
and emotion represented by preferences (cf. Russell and Snodgrass, 1987,
p. 249). The study of affect is even today the most problem-fraught sector
in contemporary psychology, not only with reference to places, but also as
regards interpersonal relationships. Fitness and Strongman (1991) vividly
express the difficulties still encountered by those embarking upon research
in this field:
The study of affect in close relationships is simultaneously a fascinating, yet
exasperating experience. On the one hand, because most human beings
describe their close relationships in terms of their feelings and emotions (love,
hate, fear, anger, contempt, gratitude, and so on), one has a sense that, of all
possible theoretical and empirical approaches to close relationships, the
affective is possibly the most basic and the most meaningful. On the other
hand, the affective approach is also, without doubt, one of the most difficult
areas in psychology to conceptualize, analyze, and theorize about in a
meaningful way (p. 175).
Despite these difficulties, theorising about interpersonal bonds has
certainly reached a more comprehensive state of elaboration than that about
the links with places. In particular, starting from John Bowlby’s early
observations on the effects of maternal deprivation in children, a substantial
corpus of theoretical and empirical research has accumulated over the past
40 years with regard to attachment (cf. Cassidy and Shaver, 1999). It is
precisely with this model that we deemed it useful to compare the
developments in research on attachment to places.
Before going on to describe this comparison, it is necessary, however,
to settle one point. Speaking of affective bonds with places in the context of
the theory of attachment in interpersonal relationships could give rise to
misunderstanding. It might be taken to imply the assumption that predictive
validity of infant's attachment patterns to significant figures applies also to
attachment to places.
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 140
Instead we want to emphasise, on the one hand, the desirability for
attachment theorists to broaden their concern to include significant
relationships with places, if attachment theory seeks to be viewed as a
comprehensive theory of affective development (Kobak and Sceery, 1988;
Hazan and Shaver, 1987; 1994). Bowlby himself considered the attachment
to a parent figure as part of a larger set of systems that have the effect of
maintaining a stable relationship with the familiar environment
(1973,
Chapter 9)
On the other hand, environmental psychology, also because of the
absence of any suitable general theories, does not appear to posit any
questions for which researchers studying attachment in interpersonal
relationships have endeavoured to provide answers, for instance, concerning
the origins of attachment and its normal or distorted development of
possible relevance also in the case of places and above all concerning the
role of early experience in influencing later psychological outcomes.
The theory of attachment in interpersonal relations will thus be used as
a stimulus towards reflection on aspects and concepts often used in
environmental psychology literature outside any precise conceptual
framework, that is, as a point of view from which to examine the problem, a
point of view that is additive rather than opposed to the one from which
attachment has been viewed in the other chapters (for instance, within the
framework of identity or of schema).
In the following sections, after a brief illustration of those aspects of
attachment theory that appear most relevant to the present context, we shall
give an overview of the developments in research on affective bonds with
places, before going on to address in greater detail several of the
problematic issues arising out of the comparison between attachment to
persons and attachment to places.
Attachment Theory in Interpersonal Relationships
In summing up the main aspects of attachment theory in one of his later
works, Bowlby (1988) emphasises the importance of intimate emotional
bonds as a basic characteristic of human beings:
Attachment theory regards the propensity to make intimate emotional bonds to
particular individuals as a basic component of human nature, already present
in germinal form in the neonate and continuing through adult life into old age.
[…] Although food and sex sometimes play important roles in attachment
Place Attachment 141
relationships, the relationship exists in its own right and has a key survival
function of its own, namely protection (p. 120-121).
Bowlby starts from observations on the effects of maternal deprivation
and on children’s behaviour during and after separation from the mother,
and uses a theoretical apparatus that includes also psychoanalysis, ethology,
developmental psychology, information theory and the theory of behavioural
systems. His theory of attachment postulates that attachment behaviour
like other forms of instinctive behaviour, for instance, parental, reproductive,
explorative and feeding behaviour has biological roots and is characteristic
of the species. Attachment behaviour of the child finds its complement in
the mother’s protective behaviour
1
.
The antithesis of the attachment system is the exploratory system. The
individuals are motivated to maintain a balance between behaviours that
tend to maintain familiarity and reduce stress and behaviours that tend to
extract novel information from the environment. When the child has a
“secure base” to rely on, he is free to move away from it and explore the
environment.
Despite the importance attributed to the “feeling” of attachment, the
theory is concerned mainly with attachment behaviour, defined as any form
of behaviour that results in a person attaining or maintaining proximity to
some other clearly identified individual who is conceived as better able to
cope with the world’ (Bowlby, 1988, p. 26-27). The emphasis on behaviour
nevertheless derives, according to Bowlby, not from a behaviourist
paradigm, but from the characteristics of the method used, which are
described at the beginning of volume one of the “attachment trilogy”
(Bowlby, 1969, 1973; 1980). They are ‘a prospective approach [i.e. to
describe certain early phases of personality functioning and, from them, to
extrapolate forward], a focus on a pathogen and its sequelae, direct
observation of young children, and a use of animal data’ (Bowlby, 1969, p.
7-8).
Attachment behaviour is mediated by an organised control system
rooted in neurophysiological processes which incorporates information on
the environment and allows behaviour to be planned as a function of its
purpose. In the course of development, and on the basis of experiences of
interaction with the main figure and the other figures of attachment, the
child develops increasingly complex cognitive structures or representations
of the world and of persons, including self and the attachment figures, which
guide his interpretation of the world and his actions. These structures, or
“internal working models” (Bowlby, 1973, Chapter 14; Main, Kaplan and
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 142
Cassidy, 1985), are produced as a property of the relationship, and are thus
initially comparatively flexible in the sense that they are modified as a
function of the environment. However, once they have become organised,
they quickly tend to operate automatically and thus to become a stable
property of the individual. Attachment behaviour begins to develop as an
organised pattern as early as the first year of life.
Owing to its early onset compared with other social relationships and to
the stability of the cognitive structures governing it, the relationship of
attachment thus comes to represent a prototype of relational behaviour, an
organising principle (Stroufe and Waters, 1977) of the affective personality.
On the basis of the experimental studies undertaken by Ainsworth et
al. (1978) three principal models of attachment have been proposed
secure, insecure-ambivalent, and insecure-avoiding to which is added a
fourth type, insecure-disorganised (Main and Solomon, 1990). Research into
individual differences of style of attachment and their persistence has been
extended to include adults, in the direction of both intergenerational
transmission of attachment models (Main, Kaplan and Cassidy, 1985) and of
the reproduction of attachment models in adult affective relationships
(Hazan and Shaver; 1987; Kobak and Sceery, 1988; Hazan and Shaver,
1994).
One aspect to bear in mind, particularly if attachment theory is to be
taken as the first step towards an understanding of affective bonds in
general, is the distinction between behaviour and bond or feeling of
attachment. While attachment behaviour refers to any of the various forms
of behaviour that the person engages in from time to time to obtain and/or
maintain a desired proximity to the protective figure, an attachment bond is
an enduring affective tie involving a specific individual.
Affects, feeling, and emotions are defined as ‘phases of an individual's
intuitive appraisals either of his own organismic states and urges to act or of
the succession of environmental situations in which he finds himself’
(Bowlby, 1969, p. 104). The roles of appraising processes are those of
control of behaviour, of providing the individual with a monitoring service
regarding his own states, urges, and situations, and of providing information
to others. This explains why, given the fundamental role of attachment
behaviour, ‘no form of behaviour is accompanied by stronger feeling than is
attachment behaviour. The figures towards whom it is directed are loved
and their advent is greeted with joy’ (ibidem, p. 209).
The formation of an affective bond seems mainly to be a function of
the richness of the social interaction (intensity and quality of the interaction)
with the person(s) towards whom the attachment behaviour is directed
Place Attachment 143
(Bowlby, 1980, p. 39). The primary attachment figure becomes the one that
takes the greatest care of and is most responsive to the child during the
period of greatest sensitivity to bond formation. However, some other
secondary figures are generally also the object of attachment (Bowlby,
1969, p. 303 and following). It seems even that the stronger and healthier
the attachment to the main figure, the more likely there are to be secondary
attachments (Bowlby, 1969, p. 308).
The relationship with the attachment figure tends to persist also under
unfavourable environmental conditions, such as abuse and ill treatment,
although this does not mean that it is not subject to change in the course of a
lifetime. The capacity to adapt the models to fit the environmental situation
is greater in the case of healthy development, that is of secure attachment,
whereas adaptation becomes more difficult in the case of insecure
attachments, as defence mechanisms come into play (Bowlby, 1980).
Thus, in this theory, “attachment behaviour” and “attachment bond” are
precisely and narrowly defined compared with their common language
meaning, although they are used with different nuances by the various
authors, as will be seen more clearly in the following. To have an
attachment bond with someone does not simply and generically mean to feel
affection for him or her. It entails drawing a feeling of well-being and
security from the proximity with or availability of a person. In this sense,
one component of attachment may be present also in other affective bonds
and attachment behaviour may be observed, especially in emergencies, at
any age, even though it becomes harder to activate, less intense, and may
be terminated even by purely symbolic conditions (Bowlby, 1969, p. 261).
Moreover, with increasing age, the main attachment figure tends to change,
and is often identified as the sexual partner, although the established ties
with the parents are maintained.
The distinction between attachment and other affectional systems
(Bowlby, 1969, p. 230 and following; Ainsworth, 1989; Weiss, 1991) is
based on the functions they satisfy reproduction, protection, affiliation or
socialisation, etc. However, what characterises them all as bonds is that the
partner is important insofar as he/she is a particular person that cannot be
easily replaced by another, although there may well be a plurality of
individuals to whom one is attached.
Before going on to examine the significance that the above theoretical
framework may have for research on attachment to places, I shall briefly
review the studies that have variously addressed the topic of attachment
with reference to the environment.
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 144
First Contributions to the Concept of Attachment in Environmental
Literature
The first non generic reference to affective bonds with places is to be found
in the well-known study by Fried (1963) on the psychological effects of the
forced dislocation of the population of a Boston suburb, the West End, in the
course of a vast programme of urban redevelopment. The study, based on
interviews administered prior to the transfer and two years thereafter,
revealed that the reactions of a large number of interviewees resembled the
sorrow experienced after the loss of a loved one. Fried postulated that the
forced transfer from the place of residence represented an interruption in
the individuals’ sense of continuity, in that it involved the fragmentation of
two essential components of identity, namely spatial identity and group
identity, which are associated with strong affective elements. It is
interesting to note that, as well as speaking explicitly of “attachment” to the
place of residence, the article also refers to the psychodynamic literature on
mourning. These references were dropped completely in later literature on
attachment to place.
Although the study on the Boston West End is considered one of the
cornerstones of environmental psychology, the possible theoretical
implications that could be drawn from it for the purpose of formulating a
theory of affective bonds with places were not developed. Even Fried in his
later studies (Fried, 1982; 1984) uses the term attachment generically, more
than anything else to mean satisfaction with one’s neighbourhood.
For nearly twenty years, the notion of attachment is not included among
environmental psychology research topics. Then, in the '80s, when
attachment to places, and in particular to one’s neighbourhood, increasingly
becomes an object of study, the main reference time does not reflect the
renewed interest in affect expressed in psychology in general, but in policy
topics drawn from other disciplines, such as community sociology and
human geography (Lee, 1968).
In the sociological field, there is lively debate on the alleged dissolution
of local communities, which is theorised in particular by sociologists of the
Chicago School as the inevitable consequence of modern urban life. The
concept of local community, that is, of the system of social networks
designed to function within well-defined geographic boundaries, includes as
an essential component a sense of belonging, or attachment to the
community. The term attachment is not used to denote any specific
psychological phenomenon, but rather the complex of attitudes and
Place Attachment 145
behaviours that may be associated with an affective bond with one’s
neighbourhood. In fact, very often no definition is given of the concept of
attachment and the working definitions, which may be inferred from the
indicators used to measure it, differ appreciably. Two publications, one
British and the other American, which strongly influenced subsequent
research, clearly illustrate this type of approach.
Janowitz and Kasarda (1974) reappraise the results of a wide-ranging
survey carried out in 1967 in the United Kingdom with a view to examining
the influence of a series of sociological factors on what is referred to as
“community attachment and sentiment”. Community attachment is
measured using three variables: 1) the feeling of belongingness to the place
of residence; 2) interest in what goes on in the neighbourhood; and 3) the
pleasure or displeasure that would be experienced as a result of moving.
The results of their survey show that the three indicators measure
empirically separate phenomena in the sense that they are variously
associated with both the independent variables considered (community size,
population density, length of residence, and socioeconomic class), and with
variables measuring social integration in the community. In particular, length
of residence seems to be closely linked both to the feeling of belongingness
and to the sorrow at moving out of the community both of which are also
age-linked , while interest in what goes on in the community decreases
with age and is linked mainly to socioeconomic class. The authors are
concerned with demonstrating the superiority of a systemic model of social
construction of the community over the model based on a linear
development determined by population growth, and do not derive from these
results a more comprehensive conceptualisation of attachment.
Conversely, Gerson, Stueve and Fischer (1977) state that their primary
aim is precisely to clarify the ‘nature and cause of attachment’. Attachment
to place is defined as ‘individuals' commitments to their neighborhoods and
neighbors’. The authors claim that attachment is not a unitary phenomenon
but one made up of several independent dimensions that allow four forms of
attachment to be defined: three of which represent types of “social
attachment” (institutional ties, that is, belonging to local institutions, social
activity, the degree of involvement in neighbourhood organisations and
social interaction with neighbours, local intimates, the presence of friends
or relatives in the neighbourhood). A fourth dimension, denoted as
affective attachment”, is measured by the satisfaction with the
neighbourhood and the desire for residential stability. The proposed model is
defined as one of structural alternatives, insofar as it emphasises the
social and economic ties that limit the number of available alternatives.
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 146
Individuals thus choose to be attached to their neighbourhood in various
ways that depend on their personal needs, opportunities and resources, as
well as on the characteristics of the neighbourhood and their home. Also in
this case the authors’ interest is directed above all to those aspects of
behaviour that are relevant to the notion of community and social cohesion,
and not to attachment as an emotional phenomenon. Indeed, rather than an
analysis of the affective aspects of the relationship with place, their
research offers interesting results on the complexity of the factors affecting
the choice of residential stability or mobility and the socialisation networks
inside a given community.
The notion of attachment to place emerges in a much more substantial
form in phenomenologically oriented human geography. One of the best
known publications in this field, Topophilia by Yi-Fu Tuan (1974), already
expresses in its title an interest in the affective aspects of the relationship
with geographic space. It is the emotional significance that geographic
spaces are able to take on in human experience that transforms them into
places”.
Attachment to place is considered a fundamental human need (Relph,
1976), a need that contemporary society is increasingly unable to satisfy
owing to its tendency towards gradual spatial uniformity, increased mobility
and hence a purely functionalistic relationship with places. The most
common situation in the western world is believed to be a stage that is mid
way between complete attachment and a complete absence of attachment,
so that places are experienced as intermediate between cognitive and
emotional, between “points in a spatial system” and “strong visceral
feelings” (Tuan, 1975, p. 152). An even more radical stance is introduced
by the distinction between rootedness and sense of place (Tuan, 1980).
The former is conceived of as an unconscious state of deep familiarity with
a place which implies long continuous residence, while the latter is a
conscious force of creation and conservation of “places” through words,
actions and the construction of artefacts. Only this second type of bond with
place is considered still to be possible for contemporary Americans, while
rootedness is probably an irretrievable Eden”. However, we are not
dealing with two levels of the same type of experience but with two
opposite experiences: the attempt to retrieve a bond with place by searching
through the past irremediably excludes that state of unself-consciousness
that instead characterises rootedness.
Phenomenologically oriented authors base the centrality of place in
human experience not so much on the psychological facts as on the
Heideggerian concept of Dasein (Being-there), a concept which defines
Place Attachment 147
man’s existence as “Being-in-the-world”, where world is understood as the
complex of relationships between man, other men and things (Heidegger,
1962):
Dasein is never 'proximally' an entity which is, so to speak, free from Being-in,
but which sometimes has the inclination to take up a 'relationship' towards the
world. Taking up relationships towards the world is possible only because
Dasein, as Being-in-the-world, is as it is (p. 84).
A constitutive character of this Being-in-the-world is the “state-of-
mind”, the emotional tonality, that ‘comes neither from “outside” nor from
“inside”, but arises out of Being-in-the-world, as a way of such Being’ (p.
176). Even if Heidegger rejects a psychologistic interpretation of his
discourse (p. 172-173), the analyses he made, in particular concerning the
topic of the unauthenticity of existence, certainly contributed to thinking on
the significance of places, above all, to the distinction between places and
non-places.
The ideas of the human geographers exerted a strong influence on
environmental psychology both by encouraging alternative approaches to the
quantitative method and by focusing attention on individual experience as
well as, with direct relevance to our topic, by stimulating debate on the
psychological effects of residential stability.
It should be noted that although the above-cited work by Fried and the
human geographers’ research are often cited together as proof of the
existence of affective bonds with places and the need for residential
stability, their positions are actually somewhat different. Indeed the
geographers advance the hypothesis that the affective bonds in question are
universal and necessary for an “authentic” relationship with the
environment. Fried (1963, p.168), on the other hand points out that ‘this
sense of continuity is not necessarily contingent on the external stability of
place, people, and security or support’ but that strong affective ties with the
place of residence may be characteristic of particular groups of population
under certain circumstances. Among other things, his work shows how such
ties may to some extent prove dysfunctional, precluding adaptation to new
opportunities (Fried 2000).
Developments in Research on Affective Bonds with Places
Starting from the '80s the concept of attachment begins to appear more and
more frequently in environmental literature, especially with reference to the
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 148
home and the neighbourhood, although it still plays a marginal role. It was
only in the '90s that attention focused on the affective aspects of the
relationship between individual and environment as a topic of primary
interest
2
. However, there is no correspondence between the amount of
empirical research including one or more variables related to affective
bonds with the environment, and the elaboration of theories capable of
guiding the research itself in specific directions. Perhaps more than from the
variety of definitions, the differences in the approaches are clearly
expressed by the variety of attitudinal and/or behavioural indicators or
predictors used to measure the presence or the intensity of the bond.
Appendix 1 provides a long, although not exhaustive, list of the measures
used in empirical studies.
In the following paragraphs we shall endeavour to illustrate the main
research contexts in which the concept of attachment has taken on a
certain importance, and precisely with reference to the quality of the
residential environment, identity and territoriality.
Attachment and Quality of the Environment
One sector of research in which the concept of attachment was introduced
with increasing frequency in the '80s is that of the evaluation of the quality
of the residential environment.
Interest in the concept of attachment emerges from the concurrence of
two research fields. On the one hand, within sociology and community
psychology, as we have already mentioned, an affective dimension is
acknowledged as essential to the concept of local community (Unger and
Wandersman, 1985). As a result, an increasing number of studies are
devoted to the identification of the relationship between the individual
characteristics, socio-physical context and evaluative and behavioural
responses possibly associated with the development of affective bonds. On
the other hand, a main theme in environmental psychology is the search for
measures of environmental quality sensitive to the inhabitants' needs, which
allow for the psychological complexity of individual-environment
relationship. With respect to satisfaction, which is seen as an attitude
toward the residential environment (Weideman and Anderson, 1985;
Francescato et al., 1989), attachment represents a comprehensive measure,
superordinate, able to include even behavioural and emotional aspects that
go beyond a mere affective response. In fact, what qualifies attachment is
not the positive valence of affects, but that it is perceived as a bond, with an
Place Attachment 149
enduring quality, directed toward a specific target, not interchangeable with
another with the same functional quality.
However, the distinction between satisfaction and attachment rests
more on empirical results than on a theoretical basis. Fried (1982; 1984) for
example, acknowledges that the concept of attachment spans a richer
dimension of experience of place than satisfaction, but argues that the
theoretical tools developed so far are unsatisfactory for the purpose of
making an empirical analysis of the topic. His study thus focuses on
residential and community satisfaction as a first step towards a broader
conceptualisation of the meaning of residential places in the life of
individuals.
Shumaker and Taylor (1983) have formulated a model of attachment
which sets out to combine the concepts of satisfaction and attachment, and
which represents both a deepening and a broadening of the concept of
“place dependence” developed by Stokols and Shumaker (1981).
Attachment is defined as ‘a positive affective bond or association between
individuals and their residential environment’ (p. 233). Attachment can
operate at the individual level as well as at the small-group and the
neighbourhood level. From an evolutionary point of view, the functional
value of the attachment bond can be identified as the promotion of
residential stability until such time as the latter remains rewarding, while
attachment is believed to decline when the place is no longer able to satisfy
the inhabitant's needs. The model's core concept is the congruity between
needs and the physical and social resources of the environment: in positive
cases attachment is developed, whereas in the case of incongruity, the
individuals will either not form attachments or be repulsed. The intensity of
the bond is determined by the physical and social characteristics of the
environment, by individual needs and peculiarities, and by the evaluation of
the present situation vis-à-vis the possible alternatives and the effective
possibility of making a choice. Also other outcomes of attachment may be
postulated at a level of both social involvement and mobility, and at that of
well-being and mental health. Moreover, like residential stability, attachment
does not necessarily have a positive outcome, but may represent a source of
individual hardship, conformist attitudes or social refutation.
Although the work is widely quoted in the literature, the relationship
between satisfaction and attachment that is, whether they are to be
considered two separate concepts or whether satisfaction represents a
component of or actually coincides with attachment remains a
controversial issue. Satisfaction is included among the indicators of
attachment in Brown and Werner (1985), Stinner et al. (1990), Churchman
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 150
and Mitrani (1997), while Guest and Lee (1983) and Ringel and Finkelstein
(1991) claim, on the basis of empirical results showing a different relation
between the two variables and those referring to social, evaluative and
behavioural aspects, that attachment and satisfaction must instead be
considered as two separate, albeit related, notions. A similar stance is
adopted also by Austin and Baba (1990), who measure attachment by
means of a set of questions aimed at evaluating the interest in the
neighbourhood, the sense of belongingness and orientation vis-à-vis
residential mobility/stability, and evaluate the contribution made by social
participation and satisfaction to attachment.
The greatest obstacle to setting up a unitary and agreed framework
may be the excessive vagueness of the definition on attachment. Despite
the parallel suggested by Shumaker and Taylor (1983) between person-
place attachment and interpersonal attachment, the forming of bonds has
not been related to a specific psychological need. Place attachment is seen
as an umbrella concept embracing the multiplicity of positive affects that
have places as targets. It is no wonder, therefore, that most empirical
research concludes in general on the basis of factorial analyses that
attachment is “multidimensional”. At least two components can generally be
identified as corresponding, albeit with some variation, to the two dimensions
that Riger and Lavrakas (1981) call social bonding and behavioural
rootedness. In the few cases in which attachment seems to be one-
dimensional (see for instance Bonaiuto et al., 1999), this appears to derive
from the choice of items included in the scale.
Attachment and Identity
We have already seen how, in Fried's study of the West End of Boston, the
author interpreted the suffering of the inhabitants caused by their forced
transfer as a reaction to the fragmentation of their spatial and group identity
(Fried, 1963). While the concept of group identity was already widely used
in psychology, particularly in social psychology, the concept of spatial
identity represents a new concept. Fried (1963, p. 156) defines it as
a phenomenal or ideational integration of important experiences concerning
environmental arrangements and contacts in relation to the individual's
conception of his own body in space. It is based on spatial memories, spatial
imagery, the spatial framework of current activity, and the implicit spatial
components of ideals and assumptions.
Place Attachment 151
Fried recognises that spatial components are included in Erikson's
discussion of “ego identity”, but justifies its introduction as a separate
concept by postulating that ‘variations in spatial identity do not correspond
exactly to variation in ego identity’ (ibidem, p. 156).
The issue of identity in relation to the physical environment was taken
up again several years later by Proshansky (1978), who coined the term
“place identity”, as discussed in detail by Twigger et al. in this volume. In
this chapter, therefore, only specific aspects of the theory associated with
attachment are considered.
In Proshansky's first elaboration of the concept of place identity,
attachment does not receive any particular attention: the feelings of
attachment to places, objects and types of environment, together with
aesthetic preferences, are considered to reflect the affective-evaluative
dimensions of the individuals’ place identity. In later papers (Proshanky et
al., 1983; Proshansky and Fabian, 1987), the concept of attachment to place
is revised and extended, although there is no change in the basic approach
as regards the formation of affective bonds. The feeling of affection for a
place would develop in individuals whose positively-valenced knowledge of
the environment in question largely exceeds the negatively-valenced
knowledge. However, places normally associated with a positive affect can
also preclude the emergence of any feelings of affection or even cause
aversion when they threaten the individual’s identity. The valence of
cognitions making up the identity of a place depends on the overall quality of
the physical environment and on its specific characteristics, on the quality of
the social features associated with this environment, but also on the
individual’s capacity to adapt to the environment, or to transform it (in
reality, or, particularly in the case of children, in their imagination).
Actually, the emphasis Proshansky puts on the evaluation of the
environment as the driving force behind the process of attachment makes
his position not significantly different from those already discussed
concerning the quality of the environment. In fact, he does not seem to take
up the aspect pointed out by Belk (1992, p. 38) that ‘to be attached to
certain of our surroundings is to make them a part of our extended self’ and
that the extended self is involved ‘only when the basis for attachment is
emotional rather than simply functional’.
A far more innovative aspect of Proshansky's theorisation concerns the
emphasis on variability, which is derived from ‘an ecological approach in
which the person is seen as involved in transactions with a changing world.
In effect, the implication is that it is no less crucial to explore the variability
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 152
of self-identity than to describe its more stable characteristics’ (Proshansky
et al., 1983, p. 59).
The element of variation most frequently mentioned is the one
associated with changes occurring in a person’s lifetime, as the person’s
well-being demands both the preservation and the protection of his/her self-
identity and changes of identity corresponding to transformations of the
physical or social world, including changes in the roles played by the person
during his/her life-time.
The tension between continuity and change, in particular in relation to
social norms and cultural processes, is reflected in affective ties with places
during one's life, as discussed Rubinstein and Parmelee (1992) and Feldman
(1996). For a review of these works, see the chapter on place identity
(Twigger et al., this volume). Here we would like to underline that, although
a positive correlation between length of residence and the intensity of
attachment to the place of residence is a widely reported finding, the small
number of studies in which longitudinal aspects of residential life have been
taken into consideration have shown that the causal relationship postulated
between high residential mobility and lack of affective bonds with places is
far from having been proved.
Bahi-Fleury (1996) dedicates a research study precisely to the
relationship between residential history, attachment and residential identity.
The research involved a sample of 180 Parisians resident in different
neighbourhoods of the city. The results show that, unlike relational
rootedness (quality and intensity of social bonds), attachment, that is the
affective investment made in the neighbourhood of residence, is
comparatively unaffected by the length of residence. On the other hand, the
modality of arrival in the neighbourhood, or the perception of whether it was
a free or a compulsory choice, carries greater weight. One further
interesting fact is that a high degree of mobility during childhood is
associated with a greater desire for stability in adulthood, while global
residential mobility does not seem to play any significant role. Affective
investment seems to be closely linked to neighbourhood quality, but also to
previous experiences and compatibility with residential identity.
The stage of life at which a certain residential experience was acquired
does not however have the same weight in the development of attachment
and in the construction of identity. Strong positive affective bonds seem to
develop towards the environments experienced in childhood or adolescence,
and more occasionally towards environments experienced only in adulthood.
Moreover, affective investment in the present neighbourhood shows a
positive correlation with intensity of affective investment in the course of
Place Attachment 153
life, and unsatisfactory residential experiences occurring during infancy and
adolescence seem to have negative long-term consequences on the capacity
to form attachments in adulthood, even towards the more satisfactory
environments.
The relationship between identity and childhood experiences seems to
be less straightforward. For example, the fact that a rural identity is
expressed more frequently by younger people, while for the older ones the
previous rural experiences seem instead to encourage the expression of
Parisian identity, seems to suggest that cultural models or stereotypes play a
very important role (Bahi-Fleury, 1996).
Attachment and Territoriality
As we have seen, both in satisfaction and identity models, affective bonds
are considered as stemming from an appraisal of the congruence between
physical and psychological needs and characteristics of the environment. A
more central role is played by the emotional component in the model of
human territoriality described by Altman (1975). Territorial behaviour, or
control of the territory, is viewed in this model not as instinctive behaviour,
but as purpose-oriented behaviour subject to social rules, the primary
function of which is to regulate social interaction.
Brower (1980) defines human territoriality as ‘the relationship between
an individual or group and a particular physical setting, that is characterized
by a feeling of possessiveness, and by attempts to control the appearance of
the space’ (p. 180). The act of exercising control over a specific physical
environment is defined as “appropriation of space”, where “attachment” is
one of three elements, together with “occupancy” and “defence”.
Attachment is defined as ‘the feeling of possessiveness that an occupant
has towards a particular territory because of its associations with self-image
or social identity’ (p.192). In a subsequent paper (Taylor, Goddfredson and
Brower, 1985), the two concepts of territorial functioning and attachment
are however distinguished on the basis of empirical data that indicate their
association with two different sets of predictors. It must be pointed out that
the operationalisation of attachment (see Appendix 1) emphasises
neighbouring attitudes and behaviour more than emotional involvement. Two
attachment dimensions are identified, one called “rootedness and
involvement” and the other “local networks or cognitions”, similar to those
proposed by Riger and Lavrakas (1981).
A clearer focus on the affective aspects of human territoriality is found
in Brown (1987). The primary function of human territoriality, in addition to
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 154
the regulation of the social system, is assumed here to be the expression of
individual and group identity. The identifying function is expressed not so
much in the form of occupancy and control behaviours but in the
personalisation of space, which results in the formation or intensification of
affective bonds between occupant and the territory. Territories are
classified as primary, secondary and public in terms of both occupancy and
defence, as well as of psychological centrality: primary territories are better
able to express individual identity and are characterised by stronger feelings
of attachment, while secondary territories tend to express a social or group
identity. An operationalisation of the concept of attachment that fits this
model is found in Brown and Werner (1985), who include, among the
measures of attachment behaviour, knowledge and expressions of
psychological investment (see Appendix 1). The results of research show
that the street layout can facilitate attachment to the neighbourhood and
thus the development of a secondary territoriality.
Harris, Brown and Werner (1996) relate home attachment to a central
aspect of the territoriality model namely the regulation of privacy.
Attachment is described as ‘an individual psychological process, embedded
within the home setting, developing over time, and involving affect,
cognition, and behaviour’ (p. 289). Of particular interest is the attempt to
break attachment down into several different aspects which the authors
admit are not exhaustive, especially with reference to environmental
situations outside the home by making a distinction between attachment as
an “outcome” (i.e. feeling attached) and attachment as a “process” (i.e.
reasons for attachment). Principal component analysis of the items adopted
to measure attachment (see Appendix 1) is used to identify three
interrelated forms of attachment to home, denoted as “home experience”,
“rootedness” and “identity”, all of which are related in different ways to
privacy control. One further interesting aspect of this research is the
conclusion that not all forms of attachment in particular that associated
with the expression of identity demand a long term experience with place
and that the ‘tendency to equate attachment with more permanent
residences may have more to do with our cultural bias toward home
ownership than with reality’ (p. 297).
It must be underlined that, although the identity functions of territoriality
play a central role in this framework, the development of an attachment
bond is not derived from the salience of a place in the structure of one's
own identity, but from the actual experience with a place. Precisely because
of the lack of concrete experience of place, Brown (1987) excludes the so-
called commemorative environments”, that is places deriving their
Place Attachment 155
meaning from the symbolic association with cultural values, from possible
places of territorial attachment. The notion of territorial attachment has then
a more restricted meaning compared with other approaches, which focus on
the opposite on the very symbolic association between individuals or groups
and particular settings or environments (Low, 1992):
Place attachment can apply to mythical places that a person never experiences,
or it can apply to land ownership and citizenship that symbolically encode
sociopolitical as well as experiential meanings (p. 166).
Attachment to Places and Attachment to People: Open Questions
and Direction of Research
This rapid overview of the principal contexts in which the phenomenon of
attachment has been examined in the field of environmental studies clearly
reveals both differences and similarities with Bowlby-Ainsworth's
attachment theory. Perhaps the first question to be answered is whether
attachment to places and attachment in interpersonal relationships share the
same definitional features.
Even among those researchers who have been inspired by Bowlby's
attachment paradigm, the views on what bonds have to be considered as
attachment are not unanimous (cf. Ainsworth, 1982, p. 23-24). However,
there is a general consensus concerning the criteria defining an affectional
bond:
I define an “affectional bond” as a relatively long-enduring tie in which the
partner is important as a unique individual and is interchangeable with none
other. In an affectional bond, there is a desire to maintain closeness to the
partner. In older children and adults, that closeness may to some extent be
sustained over time and distance and during absences, but nevertheless there
is at least an intermittent desire to reestablish proximity and interaction, and
pleasure-often joy-upon reunion. Inexplicable separation tends to cause
distress, and permanent loss would cause grief (Ainsworth, 1989, p. 711).
In addition to these defining features, an additional criterion qualifies the
attachment bond: ‘a seeking of the closeness that, if found, would result in
feeling secure and comfortable in relation to the partner’.
Do bonds with places meet these definitional criteria for attachment?
The persistency over time of the bond is a characteristic that also
seems to apply perfectly to bonds with places; indeed, prolonged association
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 156
between an individual and a place is widely recognised as one of the
distinctive features of attachment to place. As happens with attachment to
people, individuals may not be conscious of their attachment to a place
(Stokols and Shumaker, 1981; Giuliani, 1991), and only become aware of it
under particular circumstances, such as when the bond is threatened. This
does not mean, however, that a bond cannot fade away (Brown and
Perkins, 1992), or that new bonds cannot be created during a lifetime. The
relationship between the different kinds of bonds has been investigated
relatively little from a developmental point of view. Bowlby maintains that
although attachments to parents remain throughout life, in adulthood they
are no more the most central relationships. The problem of changing the
composition and structure of attachment hierarchies is only starting to be
dealt with, in connection with investigations of adult attachment (Hazan and
Zeifman, 1999). As concerns places, those of childhood often seem to
maintain a particular status in the affective hierarchy, but because of the
lack of longitudinal studies, there is too little data to be able to formulate
precise hypotheses. Giuliani, Ferrara and Barabotti (2000), in a study of
place attachments of a high mobility population, found that for the vast
majority the place of greatest affection is one's birthplace, but there is also a
great variability related to mobility experiences and life stages. In addition,
only a minority wants to go back and live there. Hay (1998) found that,
among people who had moved away after the age of 12, there were strong
bonds to the birthplace in a “nostalgic” sense, as there was no intention to
move back. Among those who had moved away at an earlier age, ‘only
some warm memories for the former place remained’. May we nonetheless
consider this kind of bond an attachment bond?
The second criterion, namely the uniqueness of the attachment figure,
seems to be a useful criterion, as already mentioned, for distinguishing
attachment from satisfaction. But it also implies that the object of
attachment is a particular figure. Rivlin (1982), in re-elaborating the
distinction between the geographical and generic place dependence
proposed by Stokols and Shumaker (1981), suggested using the nature of
the experience to distinguish two levels of significance for places, and
postulates that these two levels correspond to bonds of different intensity
and nature. The first level of place meanings does not require direct
experience of the places, but ‘the sites act as symbols evoking the feelings’.
On the other hand, the second level results from ties that ‘develop through
contacts within a place and through personal life history in an area’. Only
these second places seem to satisfy the criterion proposed since the
symbolic bond is not established with the place as such, but because of its
Place Attachment 157
symbolic value. The difference in the nature of the two types of bonds
emerges in relation to the way they are formed, the desire for contact and
the function that they have. It is this difference that makes it difficult to
establish a hierarchy of affective intensity: for example bonds with sacred
places discussed by Mazumdar and Mazumdar (1993) are very intense.
Feldman's hypothesis (1990) of a “settlement identity” does not conflict
with the specificity of the object. In fact, the settlement identity may be
considered an element facilitating the establishment of an attachment, but
need not imply being attached to all occurrences of a particular category of
environments.
The third criterion, that is the desire to remain in contact with the
attachment figure, seems to correspond to a desire for residence stability,
widely used as one of the indicators of attachment to place. The desire for
contact may be taken in a purely mental rather than physical sense, or
through objects that represent or recall the place and may extend to places
that are different from the residential environment. Visiting sacred places is
part of a number of religious rituals (Mazumdar and Mazumdar, 1993),
periodic returns to secondary residences and vacation homes are often
intensely desired (Giuliani and Barbey, 1983; Hay, 1998). To what extent
does this contribute to qualifying the bonds that can emerge as bonds of
attachment?
The criterion complementary to the joy of reunion is the distress
provoked by involuntary separation or the grief of loss. The fact that
reactions similar to those for the loss of a loved one can be felt in relation to
places was the starting point for the considerations on attachment to places
and is amply described in all research on displacement (for a review, see
Brown and Perkins, 1992). In addition, literature on homesickness (for a
review, see Van Tilburg et al., 1996) shows that it occurs frequently among
both children and adults (Fisher, 1989; Eurelings-Bontekoe et al. 2000).
However, leaving home is not necessarily associated with loss. Stokols,
Shumaker and Martinez (1983), in a study on the relationship between
residential mobility and health found that a high index of mobility is
associated with an increased presence of symptoms of malaise, but also that
the relationship between mobility and health is not always negative. Persons
with less opportunity for choice who are obliged to live in an environment
that does not come up to their expectations are more likely to have health
problems than those with a high residential mobility. The authors postulate
that mobility may be a strategy to correct undesirable aspects of one’s life
and one such undesirable aspect could be lack of attachment, since such a
lack is a significant indicator of future mobility.
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 158
Furthermore, the indicators used to measure attachment only rarely
allow for a distinction between affective bonds and the infinite network of
practical and social relationships that tie each of us to our own place of
residence and make moving home or any change of neighbourhood or city
an event that is generally stressful (cf. Lee, 1990).
The final, and most important criterion, is the seeking of security and
comfort. In environmental literature, the association between place and
security has been investigated in particular with reference to the concept of
home. Home in fact can be considered as the place par excellence, being
‘a relationship or experiential phenomenon rather than the house, place, or
building that may or may not represent its current manifestation in built
form’ (Dovey, 1985, p. 34). In the phenomenological perspective, this
experience is defined in terms very similar to the bond of attachment to
place: ‘… being completely at home that is, unreflectively secure and
comfortable in a particular locality’ (Tuan, 1980, p. 5), or elsewhere ‘home
is a place of rest from which we move outward and return […] a place of
security within an insecure world, a place of certainty within doubt, a
familiar place in a strange world’ (Dovey, 1985, pp. 45-46).
The significance of the home emerges from the memory and the
consideration of one’s own residential experience (Cooper Marcus, 1992;
1995; Horwitz and Tognoli, 1982; Rowles, 1984; Sixsmith and Sixsmith,
1991; Chawla, 1993; Giuliani and Barbey, 1993), from the contrast between
home and non home (Sixsmith, 1986; Smith, 1994), and again from the
comparison between the experience of being at home versus voluntary
departure therefrom, of travelling (Case, 1996).
Feelings of security and comfort are included among the constituent
elements of the experience of home in several empirical research studies
(Sixsmith, 1986; Dupuis and Thorns, 1996; Case, 1996; Wiesenfeld, 1997).
Sebba and Churchman (1986) observed that the feeling of security is
perceived as particularly important by the younger children (less than 13
years old) and is not a function of the physical protection offered by the
home but of permanence (in Bowlbian terms we could say of accessibility).
Chawla (1992) proposes a typology of infantile forms of attachment drawn
from an analysis of literary autobiographies, which reveal the variety of
meanings or psychological needs that places can perform in the life of
children. The most common form of attachment that emerges is that of a
feeling of affection associated with security and family love. Smith (1994),
using only adult subjects, found that the feeling of comfort appears more
and more frequently in women’s description of homes.
Place Attachment 159
In addition to security and comfort, many other psychological functions
are attributed to the home, the importance of which may vary as a function
of age or sex, or also of the stage reached in the process of constructing the
place as a significant space in the inhabitants’ lives. In order to reach a
more comprehensive theory of affective development, attachment might be
better conceptualised as a “component” of different ties than as a specific
bond.
In fact, we may conjecture that the need for security and protection
preponderates during certain stages of life (e.g. childhood and old age),
while other needs emerge more forcefully in adolescence and at various
stages of adult life (e.g. exploration, affiliation, self-expression, etc.). The
strong attachment the elderly display towards the home might thus be seen
as the re-emergence of the dominant need for security and protection.
Impaired physical resources and the diminished capacity to adapt spatial
behaviour patterns to changes in the immediate environment contribute to
making the elderly retreat from the novel and seek security. Similarly, the
stronger attachment to the neighbourhood found among the lower classes
might be accounted for by the continued activation of stress reducing
behaviours connected with poverty of resources (Fried 2000).
In relationships with places, just as in interpersonal relationships, the
same relationship may have a number of functions. Just how important each
of these may be in the definition of the type of bond, how the different
functions interact and how their comparative relevance changes in the
course of a lifetime and in accordance with personal experience and cultural
context, remain open questions in both research sectors.
Conclusions
Marris (1982) points out that ‘the relationships that matter most to us
are characteristically to particular people whom we love…and sometimes to
particular places that we invest with the same loving qualities’ (p. 185). This
is a statement that many would have no trouble subscribing to, and it
suggests the need to elaborate theories of human affect that include
persons, places, and even animals and physical objects.
The survey of literature on attachment to place outlined in the
preceding sections seems to indicate that the end is anything but in sight.
Many similarities emerge in the identification of aspects typical of affective
relationships between human beings and between persons and places: the
importance of the psychological functions performed by these relationships
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 160
in enhancing the well-being of individuals, the varying importance of
particular functions at different stages of one’s life, the persistence of the
bonds over time, the reactions of sorrow in the case of loss, etc. On
balance, however, the differences seem to outweigh the similarities.
One fundamental difference between the Bowlby-Ainsworth theory
and the various approaches followed in dealing with affective relationships
with place is the evolutionary framework adopted in the former compared
with the socio-cultural perspective dominant in the latter. In suggesting a
parallel between interpersonal attachment and attachment to place,
Shumaker and Taylor (1983) present some arguments in favour of an
adaptive function for attachment to place. Nevertheless, the argument plays
a marginal role with respect to the emphasis placed on the cultural
construction of the meaning of the places in society.
A second main difference, which derives directly from the first
(Simpson, 1999), lies in the different way of considering developmental
aspects.
Attachment theory has focused primarily on infancy and early
childhood. Research on attachment beyond infancy has tried to find out how
adolescents' or adults' different styles of affect regulation, associated with
different working models of attachment, can be related to childhood
experiences of attachment with caregiver
3
.
Turning now to attachment to place, we observe a lack of specific
hypotheses concerning the possible relationships between environmental
experiences and the formation of attachment patterns (Giuliani, 1991),
which allow comparison with the development of affective bonds in
interpersonal relationships. The challenging question of the potential long-
term (positive or negative) consequences of early experience is still open to
discussion.
Finally, as we have already observed, in attachment theory
“attachment” has an extremely restricted meaning compared with the
extremely broad concept of “place attachment”. Various authors have
suggested talking about attachments to place rather that merely attachment,
acknowledging the need for a better characterization of the different kinds
of bonds (Low and Altman, 1992). This is not a mere terminological matter:
in order to achieve a better understanding of the relations between the
different bonds, the psychological function of each kind of bond and the
differences in formation process, in the behaviours that manifest it, in the
characteristics of the object of attachment, in the way in which the bond
dissolves or transforms, as well as its psychological consequences must be
Place Attachment 161
identified. In doing so, comparison with interpersonal bonds can provide a
useful contribution but by no means an exact analogy.
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 162
Notes
1 Bowlby repeats on several occasions that he uses the term mother for “the sake of
conciseness” and that it does not necessarily mean the natural mother but ‘the person
who mothers a child and to whom he becomes attached. For most children, of course,
that person is also his natural mother’ (Bowlby, 1969, p. 29)
2 Of the six reviews of environmental psychology appearing in the Annual Review of
Psychology from 1973 to 1996, only the last one (Sundstrom, Bell, Busby, and Asmus,
1996) contains a section, albeit very brief, on attachment to place. In previous reviews
the topic was not even mentioned.
3 What is important to underline here is that attachment theory is a “normative” theory:
the norm is the secure attachment, and secure attachment means healthy emotional
development.
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Appendix 1: Indicators or measures of attachment
Janowitz and Kasarda (1974)
Measures of community attachment (3 items)
Is there an area around here where you are now living which you would say you belong
to, and where you feel “at home”? (yes/no)
How interested are you to know what goes on in *** [Home Area]? (4-points)
Supposing that for some reason you had to move away from *** [Home Area], how
sorry or pleased would you be to leave? (3-points)
Gerson, Stueve and Fischer (1977)
Measures of neighborhood attachment
Social involvements:
institutional ties the extent to which the respondent’s family was formally involved in
the neighborhood through church, school or work (5 items)
sociable neighboring a scale measuring the degree to which members of the
respondent’s family talked, dined, and spent leisure time with neighbors (5 items)
organizational involvement membership and activity in a neighborhood organization (2
items)
kin in neighborhood whether various relatives lived in the neighborhood (4 items)
friend in neighborhood the presence of at least some of the respondent’s friends in the
neighborhood (1 item)
Affective attachment:
happy with neighborhood how happy the respondent was with the neighborhood (3-
point scale)
unhappy to leave how unhappy the respondent would be if he or she had to move (4-
point scale)
Riger and Lavrakas (1981)
Measures of neighborhood attachment (6 items yes/no)
Bonding:
In general is it pretty easy or pretty difficult for you to tell a stranger in your
neighborhood from somebody who lives there?
Would you say that you really feel a part of your neighborhood or do you think of it
more as just a place to live?
How about kids in your immediate neighborhood? How many of them do you know by
name: all of them, some, hardly any, or none of them?
Rootedness:
How many years have you personally lived in your present neighborhood?
Do you own your home or do you rent it?
Do you expect to be living in this neighborhood 2 years from now?
Stokols, Shumaker and Martinez (1983)
Measures of attachment to dwelling, neighborhood, city
Place Attachment 169
to previous residences:
Whether or not they missed earlier environments
Degree to which they missed friends and relatives from those places
to present dwelling/neighborhood/city (5-point Likert scales):
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 170
Feeling of attachment to
How disruptive would be for the individual to move from that place
Taylor, Goddfredson and Brower (1985)
Indicators of attachment to the neighborhood
owner status
length of address in the neighborhood
assessment of overall perceived similarity with neighbors on the block
proportion of addresses on the block where he or she was acquainted with someone
belongingness to any other local organizations to which other residents on the block also
belong
reliance on neighbors (3 items: if they had asked neighbors on the block to watch their
house for them, take in mail, or water plants when they went away)
ability to provide a neighborhood name
gardening in back (as rated by the authors)
Brown and Werner (1985)
Measure of neighborhood and block attachment
holiday decorating behavior (4 items)
index of neighboring behaviors (amount and kind of contact with neighbors, 1 to 11)
scale of satisfaction (5 items)
scale of identification (4 items)
scale of sense of security on the block (5 items)
scale of pride in the homes physical appearance (6 items)
scale of sense of privacy (2 items)
scale of pleasure derived from decorating the home (2 items)
Austin and Baba (1990)
Measures of neighborhood attachment (5 Likert-scaled items)
If I could keep the home I now have, but could move it to another neighborhood, I
probably would move it
I am interested in what happens in this neighborhood
If I had to move from this neighborhood now, I would be sorry to leave it
I plan to be living in this neighborhood still five years from now
I feel like I am definitely part of this neighborhood
Ringel and Finkelstein (1991)
Attachment to neighborhood (1 5-point item)
How attached do you feel to your neighborhood?
Satisfaction with neighborhood (3 6-points items)
How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your neighborhood as a place to live?
How good or bad is your neighborhood as a place to live?
How much do you like or dislike your neighborhood as a place to live?
Lalli (1992)
Place Attachment 171
General attachment sub-scale (4 5-point items)*
I have got native feelings for Heidelberg
I see myself as a 'Heidelbergian'
I feel really at home at Heidelberg
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 172
The town is like a part of myself
* Others sub-scales included in the "Urban-identity Scale" are the “external evaluation”,
“continuity with personal past”, “perception of familiarity”, and “commitment”.
Fuhrer, Kaiser and Harting (1993)
Measures of place attachment (rating of 17 statements on a 3-point scale) on
social contacts in home and near home-home territories
personal intentions about home and near home-home territories
behaviors within home and near home-home territories
opinions about home and near home-home territories
Feldman (1996)
Attachments to a type of settlement (volunteered statements included in in-depth
interviews)
Psychological attachments:
embeddedness, a sense of belonging in, being part of, and feeling at home in the
residential environs
community, a sense of being involved with and tied to geographically based social group
at-easeness, a sense of being unconstrained and comfortable in a familiar place
uniqueness of place, a belief in the uniqueness of one’s home locale, a place that is
unequaled and irreplaceable
care and concern, a sense of responsibility and commitment to continue to attend to
and tend for a home place
unity of identities, a joining of the identity of self and referent group(s) to the physical
setting of the past, present, and future residential environs
bodily orientation, unconscious orientation of the body and bodily routines in the
familiar spatio-temporal order of home place
appropriation of place, perceived or actual possession and/or control over place
centeredness, home place as a focal point of one’s experiental space, a point of
departure and return
Behavioral attachments:
descriptions about where the interviewees currently lived and their plans for the future
Harris, Brown and Werner (1996)
Measures of home attachments
Attachment outcome (feeling attached) (6 9-point Likert scales of agreement):
general attachment
satisfaction with the apartment
feelings of rootedness
Attachment processes (reasons for attachment) (17 7-point scales):
safe haven, the home is a safe haven where the resident can relax, feel secure, and
recuperate from the stresses of the outside world
connection, the home is a place to spend time with family members and to feel a sense
of belonging and connection
Place Attachment 173
activity, the home is a place to carry out daily activities that the resident enjoys and/or
that the resident can not easily perform elsewhere
identity, through personalization and as a repository for identity linked objects, the
home expresses and reinforces a sense of identity
Bonaiuto, Aiello, Perugini, Bonnes, Ercolani (1999)
Neighborhood attachment scale (6 4-point agreement items)
This is the ideal neighborhood to live in
Now this neighborhood is a part of me
There are places in the neighborhood to which I am very emotionally attached
It would be very hard for me to leave this neighborhood
I would willingly leave this neighborhood
I would not willingly leave this neighborhood for another
Bahi-Fleury (1997)
Neighborhood attachment indicators (10 items)
Affective investment (4 3-point items):
feeling at ease
feeling at home
being interested in the future of the neighborhood
happiness/unhappiness to leave
Social investment (6 3-point items):
presence of relatives/friends in the neighborhood
occurrence of encounters with familiar people
nature of neighboring relationships
satisfaction with neighboring relationships
nature of relationships with shopkeepers
satisfaction with relationships with shopkeepers
Churchman and Mitrani (1997)
Measures of attachments at three levels: country level, city-neighborhood level, building-
apartment level
Direct question (1 item):
How attached do you feel to ***?
Indirect questions (4 items):
How satisfied are you with ***?
In comparison to with the EX-USSR, are you satisfied with *** more, less or the same?
How sorry would you be to leave *** now?
To what extent do you feel that this is your country/neighborhood/apartment?
Hay (1988)
Intensity of “sense of place” (composite variable developed from 4 questions)
feelings of place attachment
importance of localized ancestry
feelings of being an insider
Psychological Theories For Environmental Issues 174
motivation to remain on the locale
McAndrew (1998)
Rootedness scale (10 5-point items)
“Desire for change” subscale (6 items):
Moving from place to place is exciting and fun
I could not be happy living in one place for the rest of my life
Living close to certain natural features such as the ocean or mountains is very important
to me
I like going places where no-one knows me
There is not much a future for me in my home town
Most of the people that I knew when I was growing up have moved away
“Home/Family” subscale (4 items):
I am extremely satisfied with my present home
My family is very close-knit and I would be unhappy if I could not see them on a
regular basis
I have several close, life-long friends that I never want to lose
I love to reminisce about the places I played when I was a child
Mesch and Manor (1998)
Measures of neighborhood attachment (3 items)*
proud to live in the neighborhood
sorry to move out
have plans to move out during the next year
* Additional measures included in the study are “Local social ties”, “Economic and social
investments in locale”, and “Satisfaction with the neighborhood”.
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  • ... It is also defined as emotional links that people develop towards places (Li, 2013). Most times, they are not aware of the emotional bonds until the place is threatened (Giuliani 2003) which are found to be linked to a variety of people's behaviours and perceptions associated with places. ...
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  • ... Conversely, a negative attachment or even detachment from a meaningful place, can cause a feeling of othering and distance. Places can become embedded with meaning because they have been lost or destroyed, one has been displaced, or there has been an experience of trauma (Fullilove, 2016;Giuliani, 2003;Hummon, 1992;Low, 1992). Thus, the interaction of person and place is a reciprocal relationship. ...
    Thesis
    Full-text available
    The spatial imaginary-as presented in this thesis-refers to an understanding of how we come to know what we know about space; and recognizes that to talk about society, politics, economics, culture, race, gender, the environment and so forth, inherently, is to talk about space. Identifying the role of the spatial imaginary in the urban design process can inform how public spaces are conceived of and produced. Dangerously, the dominance of a hegemonic white spatial imaginary in the United States has contributed to a public realm which has put Black belonging in public space at risk. In response, this thesis draws upon the concept of a Black spatial imaginary to re-evaluate the urban design process in the practice of creating Black-affirming public spaces. Focusing on public participation in the urban design process, this thesis asks, how can participatory community-driven design be used to create Black-affirming public spaces? And subsequently, what is the role of the designer in this collaboration? In doing so, the urban designer can be better equipped to practice equitable placemaking which not only supports the Black cultural experience but reinforces the democracy of the public realm.
  • ... Certain aizam urtyn duu were songs that were performed in a specific order during a wedding feast, in a ceremony for erecting/moving into a new ger, in family customs, and so on. The concept of 'place attachment' and 'sense of place' has been discussed by human geographers, and also by environmental psychologists, who have suggested that place produces sociopolitical and emotional relations that connect the place and those who live within it (Relph, 1976;Tuan, 1977), as well as those who travel to and from it (Giuliani, 2003;Lewicka, 2011). In the case of the Mongols, there is often a strong 'place attachment' to rural landscape and to their nutag within constructions of identity. ...
  • ... As embedded actors, rural social entrepreneurs encounter different placed-based expectations of network actors and thus different degrees of social legitimacy (Giuliani, 2003;Kibler et al., 2014). In our analytical model (see Fig. 1), social legitimacy refers to the perceived degree to which residents of a local community as well as regime actors socially approve and desire the development of the rural social business in the locality (Bitektine and Haack, 2015;Kibler et al., 2014Kibler et al., , 2015. ...
    Book
    Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Rural Europe investigates how social entrepreneurship advances social innovation in rural Europe and contributes to fighting social and economic challenges in these regions. Based on longitudinal data collected in four European countries, this book explains how social enterprises enact their business model based on an entrepreneurial reconfiguration of resources they obtain from their network relations, and how their activities empower local communities, driving change and eventually innovation. In these activities, the entrepreneurial mindset and the role as intermediary between different groups and domains of society help to reframe challenges into opportunities. The argument in this book develops from a description of what social enterprises report to do to an analysis of how they do it, and results in an explanation of why they take these actions. In doing so it gradually broadens the view from a focus on the social enterprises themselves to their interactions and network partners and, finally, to their positioning in societal fields. The presented model complements network theory with the concept of strategic action fields. This book reveals the crucial role of social entrepreneurship in innovation in rural regions, and the rich insights provided have far reaching implications for research, practice and policy. This book will appeal to everyone interested in the interface of social entrepreneurship, innovation, and regional/rural development, either on a practical or academic level.
  • ... As embedded actors, rural social entrepreneurs encounter different placed-based expectations of network actors and thus different degrees of social legitimacy (Giuliani, 2003;Kibler et al., 2014). In our analytical model (see Fig. 1), social legitimacy refers to the perceived degree to which residents of a local community as well as regime actors socially approve and desire the development of the rural social business in the locality (Bitektine and Haack, 2015;Kibler et al., 2014Kibler et al., , 2015. ...
    Book
    Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Rural Europe investigates how social entrepreneurship advances social innovation in rural Europe and contributes to fighting social and economic challenges in these regions. Based on longitudinal data collected in four European countries, this book explains how social enterprises enact their business model based on an entrepreneurial reconfiguration of resources they obtain from their network relations, and how their activities empower local communities, driving change and eventually innovation. In these activities, the entrepreneurial mindset and the role as intermediary between different groups and domains of society help to reframe challenges into opportunities. The argument in this book develops from a description of what social enterprises report to do to an analysis of how they do it, and results in an explanation of why they take these actions. In doing so it gradually broadens the view from a focus on the social enterprises themselves to their interactions and network partners and, finally, to their positioning in societal fields. The presented model complements network theory with the concept of strategic action fields. This book reveals the crucial role of social entrepreneurship in innovation in rural regions, and the rich insights provided have far reaching implications for research, practice and policy. This book will appeal to everyone interested in the interface of social entrepreneurship, innovation, and regional/rural development, either on a practical or academic level.
  • ... Found to be associated with household conservation in three out of the six scenarios was the ownership status of households-i.e., whether the household was rented or not. Homeownership status has been found in the literature to be an indicator of positive relationships with water utilities due to longstanding interactions (Giuliani, 2003), as well as place attachment from long-term residents (Lewicka, 2011). In other words, the ownership status may represent a proxy variable for the length of time the utility and residents have been interacting. ...
    Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    Increased demand from population growth in areas experiencing water scarcity can place stress on water infrastructure systems in communities. The impacts of growth can be mitigated by a management approach that encourages conservation practices. By decreasing per capita demands, communities may mitigate the need to expand system capacity and address supply-side constraints. This study uses statistical inferencing to assess (1) the relationships between household characteristics (e.g., ownership status) and whether a household conserves water, as well as (2) how these associations may vary under different scenarios of defining household conservation. To assess the presence of actual water conservation, the study uses two metrics-125gpcpd (set by the local utility) and 90gpcpd (commonly cited in the U.S.). To define the duration of household conservation, the study applies three measures-a household conserving at least 50%, 75%, or 100% of the time. The two metrics and three definitions combine to create six different scenarios. This study was facilitated by a survey deployed in 2016 to the Austin, Texas metropolitan area. The survey was intended to understand water-use behavior and perceptions toward local water-infrastructure services. This data was subsequently matched to respondents' monthly water consumption from 2012 to 2016 by the local utility. The results of this study show that using different metrics influences the average duration of water conservation for each household characteristic. Understanding the influence of household characteristics on conservation may assist utilities as they develop programs that target specific categories of households (e.g., households with children through school programs).
  • Article
    Agricultural landownership in Japan has changed drastically over the last century due to post‐World War II land reforms and cultural, political, and economic shifts in the subsequent decades. Initial land reform shifted the concentrated ownership of land from the wealthy to small‐scale farmers. But as Japan industrialized and became more urban‐centered, a substantial amount of rural land has been left abandoned or unmanaged by descendants of those farmers. This paper analyzes the attitudes of absentee agricultural landowners in Japan to better understand the prevalence of economically rational versus traditional attitudes toward land ownership. We draw on the rural sociological literature on place attachment to hypothesize why some absentee landowners feel a strong tie to the land of their ancestors, while others would be willing to sell for a reasonable price. We use unique survey data obtained from 466 absentee agricultural landowners in Japan. Logistic regression results indicate that attachment to place, gender, age, educational attainment, and usage of land is significant predictors of whether landowners hold traditional, rather than economic, values. We discuss the implications of these findings for the future of sustainable agricultural land management in Japan.
  • Article
    The wall along the U.S.–Mexico border has become one of the most controversial issues in the immigration debate. Although the American public is often aligned with partisan predispositions, often ignored is the role that geographic distance to the border plays in forming attitudes. This paper explores the role of proximity, partisanship, and their interaction as determinants of public attitudes toward the border wall. This paper argues that geographic distance has two effects on public attitudes: as a catalyst for direct contact and as a dynamic filter that shapes how people process information and understand a particular place or policy. Using geocoded survey data from 2017, this paper shows that as the distance to the U.S.–Mexico border increases, Republicans are more likely to support building a wall along the entire border with Mexico due to a lack of direct contact, supplanting direct information with partisan beliefs.
  • Article
    This article focuses on the different correlates of residents' evaluative and sentimental feelings toward local areas in the Seattle, Washington metropolitan area. Evaluation is measured by satisfaction with the residential environment, while sentiment is indicated by the degree to which respondents would miss an area after moving away from it. The two types of feelings about the local community are correlated positively, partly because they have similar major predictors. However, certain aspects of neighborhood life and certain individual characteristics relate differently to the two variables, and it appears that the types of feelings have different conceptual bases. Both evaluation and sentiment are found to affect, although sometimes in dissimilar ways, the probability of individuals' moving and taking political action to defend their community.
  • Article
    The meaning of home has been the subject of much recent debate. The paper explores this debate and uses empirical data from New Zealand to demonstrate that the meaning of home reflects specific sets of historical and social circumstances and is multi‐dimensional. Key features include home as a cultural value, the investment potential of home and the impacts of gender on the meanings attached to home and home life. The paper explores the meanings of home amongst a group of older New Zealanders interviewed towards the end of 1993 and in early 1994, a time of considerable upheaval within state policy with respect to the elderly. For this group ‘home’ was synonymous with home ownership and reflected deeply held concerns with respect to security, family and continuity. These same concerns it is argued gave rise to the specific pattern of housing tenure, predominantly owner occupation, that developed within New Zealand. Out of these concerns for security and family continuity comes a focus upon bequeathing amongst the older home owners as they consider the passing on of their accumulated assets and other markers of family to the next generation. Changing patterns of family form and the growth of a more individualistic culture, as a result of social and economic restructuring, are expected to profoundly modify the meanings of home held by New Zealanders and lead to increasingly marked intergenerational differences in both the meanings attached to ‘home’ and the importance of inheritance.
  • Article
    Ten women and men living alone were asked to describe all the places they had lived in individual open-ended interviews. Assessment of interviews yielded a sequence of environmental and psychological changes participants experienced after leaving their parental home. They involved: an initial phase of feeling "not at home"; an incipient awareness of their need for a home; and the psychological and physical arrival at a place that felt like home. These findings indicate that home has varying environmental and psychological dimensions across people's lives and does not seem to depend upon traditional family structure for its meaning.
  • Article
    Place is a center of meaning. In size it ranges from a rocking chair or a fireplace within the home to a neighborhood, town, city, region, and the nation-state. Experience occurs in different modes, relatively passive ones like touch and smell and active ones like seeing and thinking. Place is a construct of experience in all its modes. Small places can be known directly and intimately through the senses. The reality of the larger place depends more on indirect experience gained through concepts and symbols. For a fully developed sense of place, passive experiences must be supplemented by active perception and awareness. Art, education, and politics are different ways of promoting the visibility of places.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This paper examines the role of place and identity processes using Breakwell's model as a framework. This model suggests that there are four principles of identity which guide action: continuity, self-esteem, self-efficacy and distinctiveness. These principles are examined here in relation to attachment to a residential environment. It focuses on residents living in an area of the London Docklands, chosen because of the social, environmental and economic change in that area. It was hypothesized that attached respondents would discuss their relationship with the local environment in ways which supported or developed the identity principles whereas nonattached residents would not consider the local environment in this way. Twenty in-depth semi-structured interviews were carried out on a sample of residents from Rotherhithe in the London Docklands. The interviews were transcribed and content analysed. Results showed that there were differences between the attached and nonattached respondents in their discussion of their local environment. In addition, there were differences within the nonattached group such that some residents were not attached and neutral with regards to their residential environment, whereas others were not attached but had a negative evaluation of their residential environment. These results are discussed within the identity process model framework.
  • Article
    The relationship between homesickness, age, nationality, marital status, the amount of time spent in the Netherlands, and the amount of time spent abroad was studied in a group of employees (N = 171) working for the Dutch division of a multinational high-tech company in the Netherlands. Variables found to be significantly related to homesickness were age, nationality, and the number of years spent abroad and in the Netherlands. The latter variable appeared to be the only independent predictor of homesickness. Results suggest it is not so much the newcomers who are at risk for developing homesickness but those employees in their late 30s living 6 to 8 years in a foreign country. Also, those coming from a culture and environment that differs considerably from the culture they actually have to work and live in are definitely far more at risk for developing homesickness than those coming from rather similar cultures.
  • Article
    This investigation addresses the theoretical analysis of one of the means by which the residentially mobile U.S. public may maintain the continuity of residential experiences despite the lack of lifetime stability of residence in one home place. It introduces a theoretical position that extends past research on the development of psychological bonds with the tangible surroundings of home places to explain the ways in which these experiences may generalize to the development of psychological bonds with types of settlements, or what will be called settlement-identity. This theoretical framework is applied in the context of a persistent dilemma of continued interest to urban scholars; namely, the distinction between city and suburban settlements. Specifically, the usefulness of this framework in explaining people's residential history and mobility plans, and the discriminations they make between the city and suburbs is illustrated by findings from a large sample survey conducted in Denver, Colorado.
  • Article
    This article presents findings of a research carried out in a barrio of Caracas, which aimed at determining the meaning assigned to the houses by their inhabitants. In-depth interviews were conducted with male and female members of the barrio. Results show that the dwelling unit is not conceived separately from its surroundings and neighbors, and its meanings have varied along its transformation from a precarious shack into a consolidated brick house. Three stages corresponding to the building process were identified-initial construction, improvement, and consolidation-each corresponding to the conceptualization of the dwelling as rancho, house, and home, respectively. In addition, the transformation of houses-as a process parallel to both the consolidation of the barrio and the development of a sense of community among its members-grants the house special environmental, psychological, and social meanings and creates great concern in regard to the politics aimed at eradicating rancho neighborhoods.
  • Article
    A consideration of both constancy and change in place attachments, focusing particularly on attachments to a type of settlement as a means by which the U.S. public may maintain the continuity of psychological bonds with places across changes of residence. Empirical evidence suggests that people form psychological bonds with types of settlements, expressions of which are similar to those identified in past research as indicative of psychological bonds with the tangible surroundings of the home, and that residential mobility may be best conceptualized as sustaining bonds, temporary dislocations, reunions, and reorientations in bonds with a type of settlement rather than as disruptions in bonding processes.
  • Article
    The changing nature of cities has raised serious questions concerning the quality of neighborhood and community life. It is essential to reflect on the meaning of neighborhoods and their function for urban dwellers. The role of group membership in place meanings is considered, using an environmental perspective that acknowledges the importance of places to an individual's sense of identity. A small case study of a Hasidic sect with a distinctive life style provides an opportunity to assess the contribution of group affiliation to connections to a neighborhood. Sources of commitment to an area are discussed as are the qualities of group affiliations that affect this commitment. A conception of generic and specific place meanings, based on individual and group experiences, is proposed.