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Title: Defining residential place attachment and exploring its contribution to community and personal environmental actions
Author: Turton, Catherine J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 3387
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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Place attachment is an important research area in environmental psychology. Paradoxically, comparing study findings has been made complicated by the numerous definitions, conceptualisations and methodologies which have been employed to study the area. As a result there have been few theoretical advances in recent years. This thesis, drawing on a review of the majority of studies which have been done to date, uses this analysis to undertake comprehensive qualitative and quantitative studies to clarify our understanding of residential place attachment and its importance for people’s behaviour in their communities. The thesis then addresses how residential place attachment contributes to community and personal environmental actions. Current quantitative and qualitative residential place attachment literature is explored through a systematic review (39 studies). Following this, the variables argued to be salient for the development of residential place attachment are incorporated into a questionnaire (N=499). Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses a comprehensive neighbourhood attachment model is constructed made up of the most important variables when measured together for the development of residential place attachment. In a second questionnaire (N=294) the model is then applied to explore whether there are differences in residential place attachment in different types of residential environments; urban, semi-rural and rural, as well as measure whether residential place attachment is related to community and personal environmental actions. Semi-structured interviews (N=18) were then carried out to explore the findings in more depth and address why there are differences in the results. The study found that place attachment is specific to type and scale of place and that different variables are salient for its occurrence and development in different places. Residential place attachment was found to be significantly higher among rural residents than urban and semi-rural residents. In more urban areas, attachment develops over time more as a result of social ties being formed. Place attachment in rural areas is strongly moderated by social ties; immediate attachment to the qualities of the physical environment assumes more significance than length of residence. The findings demonstrate that villagers living in a close-knit, rural community with a sense of responsibility for the village explain why social cohesion facilitates the relationship between residential place attachment and community environmental actions.
Supervisor: Uzzell, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available