Mapping and measuring place attachment

Greg Brown, Christopher Raymond, Jonathan Corcoran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of place attachment has been studied extensively across multiple disciplines but only recently with empirical measurement using public participation GIS (PPGIS) and related crowd-sourcing mapping methods. This research trialed a spatially explicit method for identifying place attachment in a regional study in South Australia. Our research objectives were to (1) analyze and present the spatial results of the mapping method as a benchmark for future research, (2) compare mapped place attachment to the more common practice of mapping landscape values in PPGIS that comprise a values home range, (3) identify how participant socio-demographic and home location attributes influence place attachment, (4) provide some guidance for mapping place attachment in future research. We found large spatial variability in individual place attachment and mapped landscape values using both area and distance-based measures. The area of place attachment is influenced by occupational roles such as farming or conservation, as well as home location, especially in coastal versus non-coastal contexts. The spatial distribution of mapped landscape values or values home range is related to, but not identical to mapped place attachment with just over half of landscape values located outside the area of mapped place attachment. Economic livelihood values, as an indicator of place dependence, and social values, as an indicator of place identity, are more likely to be mapped within the place attachment area. Aggregated place attachment across participants in the region showed similar spatial intensity to aggregated values home range, but area-based assessment of place attachment and values home range are distorted by edge effects such as a coastline. To further develop the mapping of place attachment in PPGIS, we identify knowledge gaps from our study and offer suggestions for future research design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-53
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

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