Journal of Environmental Psychology Volume 28, Issue 3, September 2008, Pages 209-231
Place attachment, place identity, and place memory: Restoring the forgotten city past
Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, Poland Available online 8 February 2008.
2. Place attachment and place identity
‘‘Place’’ is the core concept in environmental psychology. However, while there is a consensus concerning definition of place and how it differs from the related concept of space (place is space endowed with meaning—Low &Altman, 1992;Relph, 1976;Tuan, 1977), there is much less agreement on how one should define and measure people’s bonds with places (place attachment, place identity, sense of place, place dependence, etc.).
The relations between these constructs are not clear (for a review of different approaches see:Kyle, Graefe, Manning, & Bacon, 2004),and there is no agreement, either, whether they predict similar or different phenomena.
Because of this confusion many researchers have expressed worries about state-of-the-art in place research
(Hidalgo & Hernandez, 2001;Manzo, 2003;Shamai & Ilatov, 2005;Stedman, 2002; but see Patterson and Williams (2005), for a more relaxed attitude).
Regardless of these differences, the majority of authors agree that development of emotional bonds with places is a prerequisite of psychological balance and good adjustment (Rowles, 1990), that it helps to overcome identity crises and gives people the sense of stability they need in the ever changing world (Hay, 1998), that it may facilitate involvement in local activities (Brown, Perkins, &Brown, 2003;Guardia & Pol, 2002;Vorkin & Riese, 2001),and that no matter how mobile a person may be, some form of attachment to places is always present in our life(Cuba & Hummon, 1993;Gustafson, 2001a;Williams &McIntyre, 2001). Of the plethora of concepts used to define people’s relations with places, two are hypothesized to predict people’s attitudes towards the history of their residence places, and therefore will be given closer attention: place attachment and place identity.
2.1. Place attachment
Place attachment refers to bonds that people develop with places
(Giuliani, 2003;Hidalgo & Hernandez, 2001;Low & Altman, 1992;Manzo, 2003;Pretty, Chipuer, &Bramston, 2003;Williams, Patterson, Roggenbuck, &Watson, 1992). Of the three components of place attach-ment: affective, cognitive, and behavioral (Jorgensen &Stedman, 2001;Kyle, Mowen, & Tarrant, 2004;Low &Altman, 1992),
the most frequently measured is the emotional component.
To this aim numerous place attachment scales were constructed
(e.g.,Bonaiuto, Aiello,Perugini, Bonnes, & Ercolani, 1999;Fe ́lonneau, 2004;Hidalgo & Hernandez, 2001;Kyle, Mowen et al., 2004;Shamai, 1991;Shamai & Ilatov, 2005;Stedman, 2002;Williams & Roggenbuck, 1989; for a review seeGiuliani,2003).
The instrument employed in this study (Lewicka,2005; Appendix 1) also belongs to this group.
Apart from the demographic (residence length) and social (social ties in residence place) factors, place exerts its influence on place attachment through physical features and symbolic meanings, with the former often being a cue to the latter (Stedman, 2003). In this paper the emphasis is on those physical features of places that are cues to the place’s history.
Research in environmental aesthetics shows that people generally prefer historical places to modern architecture (Nasar, 1998). Historical sites create a sense of continuity with the past, embody the group traditions(Devine-Wright & Lyons, 1997;Hay, 1998;Hayden, 1997),and facilitate place attachment (Low, 1992).
In the present study, it was predicted that people inhabiting city districts that are endowed with more historical traces (historical sites, pre-war architecture) or pre-war houses will show stronger place attachment to their neighborhood, city district and to city in general than those living in modern city quarters and modern post-war houses.
Awareness of the place history intensifies place attach-ment, however, probably also the reverse holds true. Lewicka (2005)showed that people attached to a place expressed more interest in the place’s past and in their own roots than people with fewer emotional bonds. The second prediction then posits that emotional attachment to a place will be related to interest in the history of the present city of residence, and—in consequence—to the amount of knowl-edge about the city past.
2.2. Place identity
Along with place attachment, place identity is another important concept that refers to people’s bonds with places.
The word ‘‘identity’’ means two things (Jacobson-Widding, 1983): sameness (continuity) and distinctiveness (uniqueness), and therefore the term ‘‘place identity’’should incorporate both aspects. Let us notice, though, that the concept of ‘‘identity’’, when applied to a place, may carry two altogether different meanings. In the first meaning ‘‘identity’’ refers to the term ‘‘place’’ and means a set of place features that guarantee the place’s distinctive-ness and continuity in time.
The concept of ‘‘genius loci’’,used to describe the impalpable but generally agreed upon unique character of a place (Norberg-Schultz, 1980;Stedman, 2003), reflects this meaning of ‘‘place identity’’. However, ‘‘place identity’’, the way it is used by psychologists, conceives of it as a feature of a person, not place.
Proshansky (1978, p. 147) defines place identity as ‘‘those dimensions of self that define the individual’s personal identity in relation to the physical environment’’. According to Twigger-Ross and Uzzell (1996), place isa means to distinguish oneself from others, to preserve a sense of continuity, to build positive self-esteem, and to create a sense of self-efficacy.
ARTICLE IN PRESSM. Lewicka / Journal of Environmental Psychology 28 (2008) 209–231211
Low &Altman, 1992 Relph, 1976Tuan, 1977Kyle, Graefe, Manning, & Bacon, 2004 Hidalgo & Hernandez, 2001 Manzo, 2003 Shamai & Ilatov, 2005 Stedman, 2002Patterson and Williams (2005) Rowles, 1990Hay, 1998 Brown, Perkins, & Brown, 2003 Guardia & Pol, 2002 Vorkin & Riese, 2001 Cuba & Hummon, 1993 Gustafson, 2001aWilliams &McIntyre, 2001 Giuliani, 2003 Hidalgo & Hernandez, 2001Low & Altman, 1992 Manzo, 2003 Pretty, Chipuer, &Bramston, 2003Williams, Patterson, Roggenbuck, &Watson, 1992Jorgensen &Stedman, 2001Kyle, Mowen, & Tarrant, 2004Low &Altman, 1992 Bonaiuto, Aiello, Perugini, Bonnes, & Ercolani, 1999Hidalgo & Hernandez, 2001Kyle, Mowen et al., 2004 Shamai, 1991 Shamai & Ilatov, 2005 Stedman, 2002Williams & Roggenbuck, 1989 Giuliani, 2003 Lewicka, 2005 Stedman, 2003 Nasar, 1998 Devine-Wright & Lyons, 1997Hay, 1998Hayden, 1997Low, 1992Lewicka (2005)Jacobson-Widding, 1983Norberg-Schultz, 1980 Stedman, 2003 Proshansky (1978, p. 147)Twigger-Ross and Uzzell (1996)
In this paper, place identity (in the psychological sense)will be understood as self-categorization in terms of place. In analogy to place attachment (Low & Altman, 1992;Hidalgo & Hernandez, 2001), bases for place identity may differ in scale.
One may feel foremost a resident of a ‘‘city district’’ (from the London Docklands), city (Londoner,New Yorker, etc.), country region (Catalonian, Silesian),country (Polish, British), continent (European, African), or even a ‘‘citizen of the world’’.
There are of course possible self-identifications in terms other than places (a woman, a psychologist, a guitar player, etc.) but these are not considered in this paper.Instruments assessing place identity through rank ordering of place-related self-categorizations have been used in different countries which allows for comparisons of data (Bartkowski, 2003; Czernysz, 2003;Drul, 2001;European Commission, 2001;Kohr & Martini, 1992;Lewicka, 2006).
The usual findings are that local identity is high (Kohr & Martini, 1992; Lewicka, 2005), that regional identity tends to be lower than national or local identity (Bartkowski, 2003; Lewicka, 2006), that the majority of people in all European countries prefer national to European identity (European Commission,2001), and that national identity is stronger in the Eastern than in the Western European countries (Kohr & Martini,1992).
In a study run on representative samples of three regions of Poland (about half of the country population),the respective percentages selected in the first three choices were: city 57%, country region 26%, country 89%, and Europe 27.6%. Analogous data from two representative samples collected in western and eastern Ukraine were: city69.2%, region 43.3%, nation 78.8%, and Europe 10.7%,with western Ukraine more similar to the Polish sample than eastern Ukraine (Lewicka, 2006).
2.3. Place attachment and place identity—mutual relationships
There is no agreement in literature on how place attachment and place identity are related. Sometimes the two concepts are used interchangeably (e.g.,Williams et al.,1992), sometimes affective (place) attachment is considered at the same phenomenological level as place identity (Jorgensen & Stedman, 2001;Kyle, Mowen et al., 2004; Stedman, 2002), at other times it is subsumed under theconcept of place identity (Puddifoot in:Pretty et al., 2003),or—according to still another view—it precedes formation of place identity (Hernandez, Hidalgo, Salazar-Laplace, &Hess, 2007).
The latter means that one may feel attached to a place but it takes more than liking or attachment to incorporate the place as part of one’s self.In this paper, it is assumed that place attachment and place identity are two different, although related, phenom-ena, and therefore that place attachment may be indepen-dent of the specific content of place identity. One may feel attached to a place for different reasons i.e., the emotional bonds that people develop with places may be a product of different symbolisms and thus of different identities.
I maybe attached to a place because my friends live here, or I spent my best years here, or my family roots are from here, and therefore the place is important to my personal identity (Gustafson, 2001b;Low, 1992;Manzo, 2003; Milligan,1998;Relph, 1976).
I may also feel attached because it is an integral part of the city with which I identify (Fe ́lonneau,2004), and therefore a product of local identity. Attach-ment may also result from higher-order identifications:cities are parts of regions and countries, hence national or regional identities may also contribute to the formation of emotional bonds with places (Bialasiewicz, 2003;Paasi,2003). Many cities are construed by their inhabitants as national rather than local symbols. For instance the coat of arms of the pre-war city of Lwo ́w held the inscription that promised that the city will always stay faithful to Poland.
Mazumdar and Mazumdar (1993) describe place attach-ment which is religion related, and Possick (2004)speaks about ideological place attachment that may be particu-larly salient when two ethnic or national groups are involved in an open conflict over the land that is sacred to both of them (like conflicts between Israeli andPalestinian residents over the West Bank in Israel or between Albanians and Serbs over Kosovo in the formerYugoslavia).
Different perceptions, or constructions, of places, due either to local or to national identity, should have different cognitive and motivational consequences. One may reason-ably expect that motivation to accept the historically multicultural and multiethnic character of a city (i.e.,acknowledge its unique and distinct identity)will be stronger if attachment to the city is due to local rather than national identity.
3.2.2. Emotional bonds with places
Attachment to a residence place should stimulate interest in the place’s past (cf.Lewicka, 2005) and this in turn should result in richer historical knowledge (e.g., more recalled historical facts or famous city residents).
However ,it does not follow that this knowledge will be less biased and will take into account the multicultural past of the place. The latter will probably depend on factors other than mere intensity of attachment. In previous sections, it was hypothesized that place attachment may be a product of different place identities and thus of different place meanings: from personal, through local, to national and supranational. It is plausible to expect that attachment due to national identity (place as national symbol) should resultin more ethnic bias than attachment due to local identity(place as autonomous entity).Within social psychology there is a family of theories that emphasize different consequences of higher- vs. lower-order categorizations of perception targets (mostly people)for biased stereotypical judgments (Brewer, 1988;Brewer & Harasty Feinstein, 1999;Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). In these models, biased perception is conceived of as a product of the top-down, category-based processing whereas the bottom-up, attribute-based processing, is hypothesized to lead to less stereotype-driven judgments.Any automatic transference of theories and concepts from one research area to another should be made with caution. Nevertheless the existent distance between social psychological and environmental approaches is due more to differences in philosophical traditions of these two research areas (positivistic and experimental in the first case and constructivistic and phenomenological in the other) than in the objects of their studies. Places, like people, are social objects and as such are targets of perceptions, emotions, and stereotypical judgments. The various meanings ascribed to places, analyzed by place researchers (Gustafson, 2001b;Hay, 1998;Low, 1992;Mazumdar & Mazumdar, 1993;Relph, 1976;Tuan, 1977)may be classified and categorized according to theoretically meaningful criteria derived from theories other than environmental ones.In this paper it is assumed that meanings attached to places may be distinguished according to whether they follow from higher-order place identities (ethnic or national) or whether they are due to treatment of places as autonomous objects of attachments. It is further predicted that the amount of ethnic bias in memory of multicultural places may be a joint function of place attachment and type of place identity: the closer associa-tion of place attachment with national identity and the weaker with local identity—the more ethnic bias. Place attachment is thus considered a ‘‘driving force’’, it motivates people to inquire into the place’s past. The direction of the motivation, however—whether it will lead to an ethnically biased or to an accurate overall representa-tion of the place’s history—will depend on type of place identity and thus on the place’s meaning.Another set of predictions concerns place memory ofthose people who do not feel attached to their residence place. In such a case a low expressed interest in history of the place is expected and—in consequence—little overall knowledge. However, size of ethnic bias cannot be easily predicted. According to the elaboration likelihood model of Petty and Caccioppo (1986), low importance of a target object should facilitate peripheral information processing,i.e., processing based on available superficial cues. There-fore we may hypothesize that if cues related to the place national belonging are readily available, answers of these people who are unmotivated may reveal a temporary, purely cognitively driven, ethnic bias.
This is a really interesting paper, linking more firmly to place attachment within the residential setting. The core discourses to follow through are the identify of emotional bonds with place and memory.
It could be argued that this is from a social psychology modality, therefore is scientific in intend, with data and research bringing together quantitive data to meet the hypothesises set in the study, therefore as a piece of research in relation to my journey, it shows some insights but not necessarily the link to the creative side of the mind, as this was not its intention.