UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Do Local Landscape Elements Enhance Individuals’ Place Attachment to New Environments? A Cross-Regional Comparative Study in China Liu, Qunyue; Fu, Weicong; Van den Bosch, Cecil C. Konijnendijk; Xiao, Yiheng; Zhu, Zhipeng; You, Da; Zhu, Nanyan; Huang, Qitang; Lan, Siren


Globalization and urbanization have made many Chinese cities lose their distinct characteristics and have led to emotional sense of loss for individuals. Place attachment, as encompassing place dependence and place identity, is the positive emotion that describes the psychological connections between people and a certain place. Many studies have indicated that people develop place attachment toward a certain place by long-term interaction with that place. However, few studies have demonstrated that place attachment might also be evoked by a landscape that looks familiar, but with which a person has not had long-term interactions. It is important to understand the role of place attachment in urban design, as neglecting place attachment can have a negative impact on the outcomes of urban planning and urban design. In this study we explored the contributions of local landscape elements to people’s place attachment to a new physical environment by means of a cross-regional comparative study. Three groups of respondents living in three different areas of China were chosen, and a photo-based approach was used to examine the association between local landscape elements and place attachment. The results indicate, first, that local landscapes positively contribute to residents’ place attachment. Next, an individual’s place attachment to new environments can be enhanced by adding familiar local landscape elements. Findings suggest that planners and designers can build stronger place attachment by integrating landscape elements that are familiar to people. This can have implications, for example, when creating links between newcomers and the new environments to which they have moved.

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