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Place Identity is a concept of the emotional connection between individuals and
certain locations in their life. In this report the accepted definition of place identity will be
discussed and analyzed, place identities of individuals will be investigated. Multiple
effects will be derived from this investigation to determine the way place identities are
formed and changed.
Place Identity
With this report the definition, thoughts and previous ideas stated about place
identity will be researched and challenged. Through this research, it was derived that
there has yet to be set rules and circumstances surrounding place identity and its
effects on personal identities. This is quantified by Tom Mayes who states there is no
consensus about the definitions or processes, most studies seem to accept the notion
that the use of the physical environment as a strategy for the maintenance of self in
this quote Mayes is actually quoting another journal written by Clare Twigger-Ross and
David L. Uzzell. This shows that the normal acceptance by most scholars is that there is
no hard and fast set of rules or ideals that is associated with place identity this report
will use and accept the definition of place identity to be the emotional connection
between an individual and a specified location including the social aspect, or people
associated to this location. So the inquiry question that started this report was how
certain places can affect the identities of different individuals. So with this in mind this

report was written to focus mainly on the connection between an individual and their
connection or ideas of home and what can affect it.
With the definition of place identity that this report accepts, having been
previously stated, the methods in which this report generated data and results was
through research and interviews. The most important aspect within place identity is the
emotional connections or feeling that individuals have towards a place. This was
strongly emphasized in the interviews conducted. The two individuals who were
selected where actively sought out for their unique qualities. As shown in the chart
below the age and race of the two interviewees are equal this effectively eliminates
these two variables in considering their view points.






Mr. Robert





Mrs. Anna

20 miles




*For more details about the interviewees please see Appendix A

This led to further investigation into what others have discovered about this topic
and going through their sources to deceiver different ideas.
Research and Analysis
Comparison of Individuals
To begin research, especially with the interviews I needed to decide what
information I want to have quantified, so I needed to create questions that would allow
for the chosen interviewees to show their view and how it could have been affected by
their circumstances.
Once these interviews where collected the results allowed for a clear comparison
of the two different views. The main question that I was trying to answer was; what are
the views and connection you hold toward your home. The answer from Ms. Stewart
was that she held a strong connection to home since she had never moved she has
only ever known one home. So all Ms. Stewarts memories of home come back to this
place, while Mr. Federle had a connection to a certain place as home the word brought
many places to his memory. This shows that a definite connection was established to a
place as home whether or not the individual had moved. Although a connection was
made by both individuals it was evident that Ms. Stewarts connection was on a much
deeper level and encapsulated her entire concept of home which allows the derivation
that moving hinders the connection between individuals an d home. This is done by
simply splitting the memories that one has of home.

Not only did these interviews show that moving affects the connection between
an individual and home but it also affects the social aspect as well. Both individuals
had friendships affected by moving which in turn would affect the connection to place.
This however was felt in two very different ways; Mr. Federle was the one who moved in
his circumstances which while affecting the friendship it had little to no affect on the
associations he had given to his friends, compared to Ms. Stewart had friends who
moved away which still affected the relationship but also affected the place identity
because these people were no longer associated with home. This resulted in Ms.
Stewarts place identity being affected more because her associations changed
whereas Mr. Federles did not.
These comparisons however could not be applied to every individual for place
identity is based on an emotional connection and this can vary from person to person.
For myself I have never moved and have a stronger connection to my Grandmothers
house than the house I have lived in my entire life.
Others Ideas
With some questions answered through the interview more questions arose.
These answers lead to even more questions, these questions included;

What gives place identity strength?

How strong can a place identity be?

What does a strong verse weak place identity create?

These questions lead to further investigation into what others have researched and
stated. While there are many ways to give place identity strength from the time spent
there, to friendships to the history of the place.
A journal written by Mr. Patrick Devine-Wright goes into depth on the strength
that place identities can have. He studied a group called NIMBY, not in my back yard,
whose place identity is strong to the point of being an impediment on beneficial
construction. These members have such a strong place connection they fight
construction of essential buildings and resources because they do not want them to
change to place they are connected so strongly to.
This organization embodies the definition of a strong place identity, compared to
Mr. Federles place identity which is much weaker due to moving multiple times. This
comparison allows for the examination of different strengths of place identity. While
neither of these place identities is wrong, in the thought of right verse wrong, the place
identity of the NIMBY group has become an issue in some cases where they prevent
the progress of infrastructure. Though a place identity can be so weak that it has almost
no effect on the person, this is the case with Mr. Federle and a few of the places he has
lived. This allows for industry progress but can lead to a non understanding of anothers
place identity and cause friction later.
Will all this having been said place identity is still based mainly on the emotional
connection of an individual to a specified location. It has been seen that there are

multiple factors that can affect an individuals place identity from moving yourself,
having friends move away, and the community in which is in the area. This research
and analysis was able to answer these questions based on a select few individuals and
the generalization of how these results could be interpreted for others as well.
This data was used to show how certain circumstances can change and shape
the place identity of individuals. From this we are able to decipher that moving,
memories, community, and many more aspects go in to creating the strength of a place
identity but there will likely never be a set definition, rules, or ideas about place identity
because it is based on individuals. Place identity like so many other identities and labels
based on individuals will never be able to be fully defined because circumstances will
never be the same and generic reactions will never be established. So this scholarly
debate will never end for there are an infinite number of reactions an individual can
have to any set of changing circumstances around them.


Devine-Wright, Patrick. "Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology Volume 19,
Issue 6, Article First Published Online: 5 JAN 2009." Rethinking NIMBYism: The
Role of Place Attachment and Place Identity in Explaining Place-protective
Action. Wiley InterScience, 5 Jan. 2009. Web. 03 Nov. 2014.
Federle, Robert A. "Place Defining You." E-mail interview. 01 Nov. 2014.
Johnstone, Micael-Lee, and Denise M. Conroy. "Place Attachment: The Social
Dimensions of the Retail Environment and the Need for Further
Exploration." Place Attachment: The Social Dimensions of the Retail
Environment and the Need for Further Exploration 35 (n.d.): n. page. Web. 2
Nov. 2014. <>.
Mayes, Tom. "Why Do Old Places Matter? Individual Identity." Web log
post.Preservation Leadership Forum Blog Insights and Information for
Preservation Professionals. National Trust for Historic Preservation, 8 Jan. 2014.
Web. 22 Oct. 2014. <>.
Stewart, Anna L. "Staying Put." Personal interview. 30 Oct. 2014.
Twigger-Ross, Clare L., and David L. Uzzell. Place and Identity Processes Journal of
Environmental Psychology 16, 206, 208 (1996).

Appendix A

Interview with Mr. Robert A. Federle

Place Defining You

1) How many times have you moved? At what ages did these moves occur?
a. 5
b. 6, 7, 8, 16, 18
2) How far away did each move take you?
a. 20 miles
3) Has moving had an effect on friendships from each location?
a. Yes, lose contact with childhood friends.
4) Do you have close ties to any of the places you have lived?
a. Yes, the first home my father built for my family. Lived in it the
longest, great time in my life as well, I was 8 when we moved in and
16 when I moved out. So those years in-between were really special.
5) If you could go back would you chose to move or stay?
a. Stay, even though my family would have spent way to much money
on the home.
6) What if any effect has moving had on how you grew up compared to
someone who didnt move?
a. Im not used to living in one area, ive learned to adapt to different
living circumstances. Helped me a lot when I got to college.
7) If you could go anywhere where would you chose and why?
a. Live in Colorado; love the mountains and a lot of land to live
somewhere private and quiet.

Interview with Mrs. Anna L Stewart

Staying Put