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Conference paper

Colloquially, ‘sense of place’ refers to the feeling of attachment or belonging to a physical environment, such as a place or neighbourhood, and the sense of personal and collective identity that comes from this sense of belonging. Yet 20 years of research shows that ‘sense of place’ is a constellation of other, related terms, including place attachment (emotional bonding and behavioural commitment); place identity (identification of oneself and one’s ‘tribe’ with a place, as well as the unique phenomenological identity of a place itself); place dependence (staying somewhere because the quality and quality of activities and services available there was better than in comparable locations); place satisfaction; and sense of community (affiliation and belonging to place and people).

Despite these conceptual nuances, urban planning policies, strategies and plans have rarely, if ever, defined ‘sense of place’ in ways that enable its cognitive (identity), affective (attachment) or behavioural components to be identified, measured and evaluated. Three case studies from Victoria provide illustration.

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