Existing attempts to measure Sense of Place (SOP) are open to a number of different interpretations, some of which are well established in attitude research. Attitude theory can provide a basis for conceiving of SOP as cognitive, affective and conative relationships with human environments. In this study, Sense of Place was defined as a multidimensional construct comprising: (1) beliefs about the relationship between self and place; (2) feelings toward the place; and (3) the behavioral exclusivity of the place in relation to alternatives. A 12-item SOP scale, consistent with a multidimensional theoretical prescription, was developed and subsequently tested in the field with a sample of lakeshore property owners in northern Wisconsin ( n =282). A number of measurement models based on attitude structure were posed as potential explanations of the scale's construct validity. Results suggested that the SOP scale measured a general Sense of Place dimension that gained expression in property owners' thoughts, feelings and behavioral commitments for their lakeshore properties. This general evaluative dimension was more explanatory of observed responses than were the three univariate dimensions having interpretations consistent with place identity, place attachment, and place dependence. The dominance of the SOP factor over the narrower dimensions was prevalent in three different measurement models that posited both general and specific factors. Future research in this vein could be oriented towards reflecting the domains of attitude more closely, rather than being organized around the domains of sense of place as described in the literature.
Journal of Environmental Psychology – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2001
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