An investigation of visitor and resident place perceptions of Mid Wales, and an evaluation of the potential of such perceptions to shape economic development in the area.
The research investigates visitor and resident place perceptions of Mid Wales and
evaluates the potential of such perceptions to shape economic development in the area.
A review of literature indicated a need for an holistic approach to place. It was
suggested that a starting point towards achieving this is to envisage place as three
components - the real, the expected and the perceived. The real place is described using
secondary statistical information and maps of the area. the expected place is described
using topographical writing and guide books. The perceived place is examined through
a combination of questionnaires and interviews with residents and visitors. These
investigate perceptions of the landscape and economy of Mid Wales. The 'perceived
places' of residents and visitors are described. A number of agencies based in Mid
Wales were also interviewed to examine i) their perceptions of Mid Wales' ii) the way in
which visitor and resident perceptions are incorporated into the policy development
process, and, iii) their responses to some of the preliminary outcomes of the research.
The research concluded that both residents and visitors have well defined, but different
place perceptions of Mid Wales. Visitor perceptions are more affected by the expected
place than the real, whilst resident perceptions are more affected by the real place than
the expected. There are currently few mechanisms by which place perceptions are
directly incorporated into the development process. However, the place perceptions of
agencies were found to be close to those of the groups they represented; it is suggested
that place perceptions are fundamental truths shared by groups, which are so strong as to
actually subconsciously drive the policy development process. Policy implications are
suggested, as are ideas for future research.