Explanation to “Place Attachment” And investigation of its effective factors



Place is not only a shelter for human activities but also a phenomena that he interacts with it. Furthermore, through this interaction, human gives meaning to the place, attaches to it and sometimes even identifies himself by it. In addition, human’s need to the emotional interaction with the place in which he lives, “place attachment”; is one of the most important principles that architects, urban designers and planners should take into consideration. Place attachment is an affective bond or link between people and specific places based on cognition and affect. This term has been defined as a positive emotional bond with a particular place. There is already a vast compilation of research and theory describing individuals’ and groups’ connections and interactions within a physical environment. Most of the studies are explicitly or implicitly tied to environmental psychology which emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These studies explore the association between individuals and their immediate environment as well as the impact of environmental quality on human health. The psychology of place assumes that individuals require an adequate environment in order to form an emotional bond to this environment. In this regard, this article attempts to present definitions, investigate different aspects and categorize key factors of place attachment through reviewing its related literature. Finally, a model of place attachment and its elements and formation process are illustrated. Theorists have tried to categorize place attachment. A review of literature about place attachment shows that there are two main ideas categorizing different dimensions of place attachment. The first idea described the dimensions of place attachment to emotional bonds and place dependence. The second idea described place attachment as place identity and place dependence. By combining these two ideas, we can categorize dimensions of place attachment to emotional (attachment to place and social networks in place), functional and cognitive bonds. Most of these aspects refer to the process of forming place attachment. However, we added the dimension of behavioral bonds which are the result of place attachment in the form of responsible behavior. Based on these results it can be claimed place attachment consists of different aspects: affective, cognitive, functional and behavioral. 1) Affective aspect refers to emotional bonds with place. 2) Cognitive bond can be described with evaluating place quality based on individual’s beliefs, preferences, feelings, values, goals and behavioral tendencies and skills relevant to this environment. 3) Functional bond refers to place dependence which is associated with the capacity or potential of a place to support the needs, goals, or intended activities of a person. 4) Behavioral bond is responsible behavior in a place. This quality derives from the interaction between five key elements including: human, place, participating in design process, how human and place interact and time. In addition, Place attachment has different levels. These levels extent from functional dependence, positive evaluation about place, continuity of desirable interaction among human and place, place meaning, identification with place, emotional attachment and responsible behavior.