Sense of Place in Spatial Planning: Applying Instrumental and Deliberative Approaches at the River Lahn

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Sense of place offers a theoretical approach for understanding and assessing people-place relationships, which may support spatial planning purposes. However, the integration of sense of place into planning practice is still lacking due to multiple and diverse conceptualizations and assessment approaches as well as lacking adaptation to planning practice. Therefore, my dissertation aimed to explore a systematic integration of sense of place into spatial and landscape planning. To do so, I used Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) and Geodesign methods, and developed and applied a spatial meaningful place indicator, which is comparable with biophysical indicators used in planning practice exemplified by river landscapes. Findings highlight (1) the importance for assessment of place meanings for understanding of people-place relationship including the biophysical context and personal characteristics, (2) the significant and positive correlation between sense of place and environmental stewardship motivation, (3) the potential of integrating sense of place data into landscape design. I provide five actionable recommendations for integrating sense of place into landscape planning, such as exploration of feasibility and usefulness, an early assessment, consideration of appropriate methodological approaches, importance of transparent and inclusive process, and the integration of external support. Finally, based on the lessons learnt within this dissertation main future research directions are proposed, which include the further development of the proposed indicator and strengthening of a progressive perspective on sense of place.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1100
JournalLandscape Online
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 30.06.2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Authors. Published in Landscape Online – Open Access Article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    Research areas

  • Environmental stewardship, Geodesign, Place attachment, Place meaning, Ppgis
  • Environmental planning