Investigation of Place Attachment Factors in Urban Neighborhoods, Case Studies: Dardasht, Charsoghiha, Mollasadra and Doteflan Neighborhoods of Isfahan

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor of Urbanism, Department of Urbanism and Architecture, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Ph.D. Student of Urbanism, Department of Urbanism and Architecture, University of Art, Tehran, Iran.


Neighborhoods are city constructing components. As a socio-physical territory, neighborhoods are the most important interface between individuals and their surrounding urban environments. The original ties forming the human life in place make the space meaningful and shape the individual identity in relation to the place identity. Although in the history of Iranian urbanism the neighborhoods have bonded people and their living environment differently in terms of the cultural, social and economic roots, but nowadays, due to the physical- social and economic changes, place attachment to the neighborhoods is no longer taken into account in the contemporary lives resulting in the impacts such as rootlessness, distress and homelessness. The need for the attention to the place attachment in contemporary era with the diversity of available related terminology have led to the ambiguities of urbanism that have made the urban planners ignore the concept of place attachment while this concept has been moved to the holistic frameworks of other fields of urban knowledge. Due to the necessity of clarifying the concept of place attachment, this term is defined and explained from different viewpoints and applications, so the main problem in studying and investigating the concept of place attachment, either at the theoretical or at the experimental level is the diversity of approaches and definitions for this concept. The terms such as topo-philia, rootedness, community attachment, sense of society, place identity, place reliance, sense of place, etc. -without any semantic signification- have been the origin of many conceptual ambiguities in this field. Such ambiguities have prevented the development of the concept of place attachment. Accordingly, this research aims to find the reasons of the place attachment in urban neighborhood reviewing the available literature in this field using qualitative methodology and multiple case study research methods and logical argument in order to come up with the factors of place attachment in Isfahan neighborhoods. In this regard, using the multiple case study strategy, Dardasht, Doteflan, Mullasadra and Charsoghiha Neighborhoods of Isfahan were selected based on typological approach and techniques. Then using the semi-structured interviews and observation techniques, data was collected and analyzed applying the logical argument strategy in general and the directed contentanalysis and MAXQDA software in particular. The results of thisstudy showed that amain part of differences between place attachment definitions and its related concept such as the place identity, sense of place, and residential satisfaction roots in different fields and disciplines, different applied research systems, and different aspects and factors of the process of attachment. Thus, to come up with a comprehensive definition, every proposed definition not only has to be paid enough attention at the superior and inferior levels of the concept of place attachment, but it also has to specify precisely the aspects and factors of the process of attachment. Accordingly, place attachment is a level of the sense of place that includes cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects, each of which can affect the individual, social and physical factors. In other words, place attachment includes simultaneously the cognitive aspect (identity, memories, meaning, knowledge and pattern), emotional aspect (love, interest and pride) and behavioral aspect (behavioral patterns and services), while the fulfillment of each of these aspects depending on the analytical scale of the neighborhood can influence individual factors (age, educational level, gender and mobility), social factors (neighborhood relationships, participation in civil and social activities), and physical factors (territory, existence of the historical monuments, open and public spaces, green spaces, building density and size of the building). Furthermore based on 22 interviews conducted in studied neighborhoods, 1067 codes were extracted in relation to the residents’ place attachment to their neighborhoods classified in 40 sub-themes categorized in the main 8 themes including the “community intimacy”, “social identity”, “religion”, “dignity”, “space-time continuity”, “visual pleasure”, “responsiveness” and “residence duration”. These themes were identified as the main factors for place attachment in the studied urban neighborhoods. This in turn confirms the effect of individual, social and physical factors on place attachment beside its effectiveness of the cognitive, emotional and behavioral dimensions. In sum, considering the application of case study and an attempt to select the most suitable samples in urban neighborhoods of Isfahan, the results are relatively generalizable to other neighborhoods of this city. In this regard we can introduce eight themes of community intimacy, social identity, religion, status, time-space continuity, visual pleasure, responsiveness and residence continuity as the main factors and reasons of the residents’ place attachment to the urban neighborhoods of Isfahan. These themes can be obtained by 40 predicators or sub-themes.


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