Book Volume 1
Page: i-i (1)
Author: Hernan Casakin and Fátima Bernardo
Page: ii-ii (1)
Author: Hernan Casakin and Fátima Bernardo
Page: iii-iii (1)
Author: Hernan Casakin
Page: iv-vi (3)
Author: Hernan Casakin
Page: vii-vii (1)
Author: Hernan Casakin
Introduction: The Role of Place Identity in the Perception, Understanding, and Design of Built Environments
Page: viii-viii (1)
Author: Hernan Casakin and Fátima Bernardo
As a contribution to previous literature dealing with identity and the physical environment, this eBook offers a deep insight about the role played by place identity with regard to architecture and the city. A major interest resides in exploring from a multidisciplinary perspective, how place identity affects and is affected by the bonds established between people and their environments. Considering that place identity is a controversial issue that continues to generate passionate discussion and not little discrepancy, this eBook is as an attempt to contribute to this debate. The volume is aimed at a broad audience of practitioners, educators, and researchers that embraces: architects and landscape architects, town planners and urban designers, environmental psychologists and environmental sociologists, ecologists, semioticians, geographers, folklorists and philosophers interested in the environment.
Place, Place Identity, and Phenomenology: A Triadic Interpretation Based on J.G. Bennett’s Systematics
Page: 3-21 (19)
Author: David Seamon
As recent phenomenological studies have demonstrated (Casey 1997, 2009; Malpas 1999, 2006; Mugerauer 2008; Stefanovic 2000), the phenomenon of place is a multivalent structure sophisticated and complex in its existential constitution. In this chapter, I offer one phenomenological vantage point from which to examine this lived complexity. I contend that, as an integral structure of human life, place can be understood in terms of three dimensions: first, the geographical ensemble— i.e., the material environment, including both its natural and human-made dimensions; second, peoplein- place, including individual and group actions, intentions, and meanings; and, third, spirit of place, or genius loci. Drawing on the conceptual approach of “systematics” developed by the British philosopher J.G. Bennett, I argue that these three dimensions can engage in six different ways, each of which relates to one particular lived mode whereby place contributes to human life. These six modes are: (1) place interaction, (2) place identity, (3) place creation, (4) place intensification, (5) place realization, and (6) place release. I argue that place identity is important to understand the nature of place but is complemented by other modes of relationship that together help clarify the complexity and richness of place and place experience.
Essential Human Qualities in Strengthening Place Identity as Expressed in Louis Kahn’s Architectural Theory
Page: 22-34 (13)
Author: Susan Noormohammadi
Place identity is a term that has arisen within the past two decades and which has affected architecture considerably. Consequently, architectural space and place are also related to place identity. There are two dimensions for place identity. On one hand, cultural characteristics such as social, historical and geographical factors form the distinctiveness of individual places. On the other hand, some common, unchangeable and essential qualities in human nature are considered to be effective in the formation of similar qualities in different places. This paper signifies similarities of place identity. In this sense, identity is analyzed more through its relation to nature rather than to culture. This approach is argued through the analysis of what is known as ‘essential human qualities’ in the main theories in psychology and phenomenology. Consequently, with reference to the main objectives in Gaston Bachelard’s (1964) theory, the relationship between natural human needs and desires in architectural space is argued. This theory provides the basis upon which the essential human qualities in Louis Kahn’s architectural approach are analyzed. This part gives an insight into how place identity is related to Louis Kahn’s theory. In the conclusion, it is presented that a significant fundamental need to return to essential human qualities in architectural discourse exists. This paper argues that it is necessary to attain the levels of space which are very humane. In this sense, space can possess unique and special qualities which are ‘true’, ‘pure’, ‘simple’, ‘familiar’, ‘intimate’, and ‘free’. When an architectural space is deeply experienced, perceived, and appreciated, then we can expect to achieve a place which is more intimate with our human identity.
Page: 35-46 (12)
Author: Fátima Bernardo and José Manuel Palma-Oliveira
The aim of this chapter is to emphasize the importance of the place identity concept in understanding inter-group relationships in the urban context. Due to the weakness of the concept, we propose to understand place identity as a self-categorization process in terms of belonging to a place. And in this sense, we propose to understand this concept using the principles and strategies identified by social identity theory. A set of studies developed by us in recent years are reviewed and discussed, in order to contribute to systematization of the concept and simultaneously contribute to the understanding of the city in particular, and the political space in general, as a mosaic of interrelated identities.
Revitalization of Public Spaces in a Working Class Neighborhood: Appropriation, Identity and the Urban Imaginary
Page: 47-62 (16)
Author: Hélène Bélanger, Sara Cameron and Cecilia de la Mora
After years of decline due to the relocation of industries and the closure of the canal, Pointe- Saint-Charles—located in the Southwest Borough near the city of Montreal’s downtown core—is experiencing significant real estate (re)development projects. As a result, long-time residents are now facing the transformation of the built and social environment at the neighborhood level. With the rise of the post-industrial economy, natural resources and public spaces that were once perceived as part of the industrial production process have become residential and leisure “landscapes” due the recycling of old industrial buildings and changes to specific site function. With a newly arrived resident population sharing this new leisure site with the “old working class”, there is a possibility that contrasting representations of these post-industrial spaces will be produced. This chapter presents the results of an investigation into the contrasting representations of the living environment (home territory) of residents living in the neighborhood of Pointe-Saint-Charles (Montreal, Canada), following the revitalization of the Lachine Canal Park and the massive redevelopment projects that took place along the canal’s banks. Residents’ representations are explored through the collection and comparison of long-time and new residents’ sketch maps of their living environment, as well as through semi-structured interviews. Sketch map analysis (scale, complexity, meaningful spaces) showed that long-time and new residents’ appropriated territory is not determined by length of residency. The Lachine Canal (and its banks), variously imagined as an historical industrial site bordering a working class neighborhood and a postmodern leisure space bordering modern housing developments, is shown to be the most important element in residents’ home territories.
Reconstitution of the Place Identity within the Intervention Efforts in the Historic Built Environment
Page: 63-77 (15)
Author: Humeyra Birol Akkurt
The built environment, with its political, ideological and cultural structure formed in different layers of history, is one of the main components of cultural memory. Due to the important role that historic urban fabric plays on space-identity relations, its reorganization is one of the main focuses of the government and the local authorities. Beyond the demands to meet the expectations of its time and to increase the value of cultural properties, implementations concerning the historic urban fabric have the power to reform collective memory, to redefine space-identity relations, and to reconstruct place identity.
In order to define the role that renovation transformation projects have on the space-identity relations, this study focuses on the annihilation of place identity, and the reconstruction of cultural memory. The effects of destruction and or transformation of the built environment on the reconstruction of cultural memory are discussed. From this point of view, the study examines the renovation/transformation/ revitalization activities in Turkey with the aim of underlining the conflicts between expectations and outcome. This is done by analyzing three projects with different priorities such as ideological leanings, reformation of the urban image and gentrification. In addition, the tension between the destruction of the place and the annihilation of the place identity, as well as the relation between the redefinition of the life and reconstitution of the place identity are explored.
Place Identity as a Useful Psychological Construct for Approaching Modern Social Challenges and New People-Environment Relations: Residential Mobility, Restorative Environments, and Landscape
Page: 78-91 (14)
Author: Tomeu Vidal, Renato Troffa, Sergi Valera and Ferdinando Fornara
The study explores the strengths and weaknesses of place identity and related concepts for analyzing certain features of today’s globalized society: changes in transportation routes and mobility patterns, alteration of historic areas in cities, and the transformation of natural and historic landscapes. We present an overview of previous studies in the area and propose a theoretical framework rooted in the domain of Positive Environmental Psychology. The chapter presents and discusses empirical findings related to three main questions: a) mobility and place identity: can mobility generate identity? b) restorativeness: what is the role of historic landscapes as a source of restoration? and c) preference and types of landscape: what is the role of the landscape in place and social identity? The results highlight the importance of the relationship between place identity, landscape and restorativeness. We discuss ways of researching place identity processes in a “positive” manner, oriented to people’s well-being.
Page: 92-106 (15)
Author: Jaime Hernández-Garcia
Urban open spaces in informal settlements, the same as housing, are largely produced by people themselves. Similarly, these spaces are mainly used by the people who live around, with few ‘outsiders’ visiting those places. The product observed is the result of people’s needs, expectations, possibilities and symbolic constructions. This paper explores the social construction of open space in the barrios, arguing that it generates attachment and identity. Social practices are transformed to accommodate new interactions with open spaces and new and changing actors, while places change to accommodate those new and changing social practices. The research draws on empirical data of open spaces in barrios of Bogotá collected between 2003 and 2007, from within a further exploration of six cases was carried out in 2008 and 2009 for the specific purposes. A qualitative methodology was employed with a multi-method strategy. Major themes are analyzed and discussed with regard to social and cultural expressions in open spaces.
Place Identity in the Neighborhood as Perceived by the Elder Residents: Relations with Attachment, Dependence and Place Quality
Page: 107-119 (13)
Author: Hernan Casakin and Shimshon Neikrug
The way that elder relate to and identify with their neighborhoods is considered to be an important reason affecting continued living in place. Predilection for ageing in place becomes even more dominant as individuals grow older, despite of undermined social support system, and deterioration in the physical condition of the neighborhood. A positive neighborhood that supports continued activity, social interaction, and accessible services can potentially contribute to successful aging in place. The purpose of this investigation was to examine place identity and its relation to place dependence, place quality, and place attachment as perceived by elders living in neighborhoods with different levels of maintenance. Findings showed that place attachment, place dependence and place quality were moderately and strongly correlated with place identity. Place attachment and place dependence were found to be higher in well-maintained neighborhoods, but no significant differences were found in place identity with regard to the declined neighborhoods. Different dimensions were observed to have a contribution as predictors of place identity in each type of neighborhood. While services quality and place dependence were found to be additional predictors of place identity in wellmaintained neighborhoods, independence and quality of the physical environment resulted the unique predictors of place identity in the neighborhoods. Place attachment was found to be the most important predictor of place identity in both types of neighborhoods. Findings from this study are considered for the design of neighborhoods for elder people.
Multilayered Identity of Places: Linkage Between Physical Form, Behaviour Patterns and Public Perception
Page: 120-132 (13)
Author: Barbara Goličnik Marušić and Matej Nikšič
The importance of simultaneous treating of the constituent elements of space on a detailed level of urban design is debated in this chapter. Three aspects are given particular attention when defining these elements: the physical form, the patterns of use of place, and the perceptual dimensions of space. These are based on physical and functional definition of space, as well as its symbolic dimension. The study is illustrated by two squares in Ljubljana, Slovenia - Prešernov trg and Kongresni trg. Both places are characterized by short and long stay active and passive activities. The research showed that the physical articulation and detailed physical characteristics of space makes it recognisable at first hand by their users. In addition, it was found that the presence of users resulted as an important aspect giving character to each place. Although, both case studies bear rich historical footprints and symbolic meanings, only the latter was present in the mental images of space constructed by the users. These empirical findings contribute to the debate on the development of place identity of these historic urban areas, strongly present in contemporary life. Results reflected the importance of a multi-layered approach to place identity.
Page: 133-145 (13)
Author: Shampa Mazumdar and Sanjoy Mazumdar
How does religion influence place identity, especially for immigrants? This chapter examines how an immigrant group developed, sustained, and continued religious place identity in their new place of residence. Based on an ethnographic naturalistic field research project on Hindu immigrants in the USA four themes are detailed, including Memories of the sacred; Homes: the sacred and the individual; Temples: the sacred and the collective; and Nature: ecology and the sacred. The learnings from this study include the following: 1) religion can play an important role in the formation of place identity; 2) past places play significant and continuing role in religious and place identity; 3) religious place identity can be expressed and experienced at the individual, community, and ecological levels; 4) for immigrants, religious place identity is not static and rigid, but is fluid and adaptive, accommodating and including new places, and experiences; 5) religious place identity is actively created; and 6) identity involves unique characteristics, place features and ambiance, cultural views, actions, and rituals, among others.
Page: 146-162 (17)
Author: Hernan Casakin and Esi Abbam Elliot
The research investigated the concept of place identity based on the principles presented in the model of identity motivation by Drostelis and Vignoles. The study was carried out in Pilsen, Chicago, a neighborhood with a strong presence of the Mexican community. The major aim was to investigate the importance of place identity principles in this cultural and physical context. The goal was to learn how Mexicans, in comparison to White Americans, establish identity ties with their environment. A number of servicescapes characterized by the use of cultural metaphors were selected as case studies. The present work added further clarity to the relation between place and identity. It provided evidence for the use of cultural metaphors in the preservation and development of a number of identity processes. The study enabled to identify existing differences between Mexicans, the more emotionally related to the neighborhood, and the White-Americans, the less attached group. Cultural metaphors in servicescapes allowed Mexicans to express their feelings and emotions towards their culture in different ways reflected throughout a variety of identity principles, classified into psychological needs and motives, as well as social and symbolic links to places.
Page: 163-175 (13)
Author: Debra Lattanzi Shutika
Since the mid-1980s, the United States has experienced a rapid increase in the Latino population across the nation. These changes have been the most prominent in communities that have been termed “new destinations,” or locations outside the historic gateway immigration communities in California, Texas and Illinois. The most extreme changes have taken place in suburban communities, which historically have been the home to Caucasian middle- and upper-class families. This essay examines how Latino immigration has affected the sense of place and local identity in two suburban communities: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and Manassas, Virginia. In each case, the longer-term population reacted negatively to the newcomers and the changes they brought to the community. Using case studies based on ethnographic research, I argue that the negative reactions are not always nativist responses; immigrant settlement disrupts the sense of place, place identity and belonging for longerterm residents. A number of interventions are offered so that policy makers, community activists and planners can help communities adapt to the transition to becoming multi-ethnic community.
Page: 176-193 (18)
Author: Robert Adam
The last 20 years have been marked by the expansion and liberalization of international capital and major advances in communication which have created the phenomenon known as globalisation. The breakdown of national barriers to trade and communication and the increased movement of populations have had a significant effect on the stability of communities and have affected their sense of identity. Place identity has also been transformed as cities adapt and project themselves on the global market. Architects are the agents of the symbolic visual markers of identity and, at the top of their profession, have been instrumental in major changes in the built environment. As social identity is challenged by the effects of globalisation, geographically stable place identity can be a palliative to vulnerable communities. The architectural profession has a unique opportunity to influence the character of places to the benefit or dis-benefit of the resident and incoming communities. A broad view of how the architectural profession itself fits into an emerging global society and how it has responded to these challenges and opportunities will reveal if it is acting as a positive or negative force for newly destabilised communities and their sense of identity.
Page: 194-208 (15)
Author: Jorge Spencer and Nuno Miguel Seabra
This paper aims to explore the potential of context for architectural design thinking based in a recent Portuguese reality. Departing from a particular case in Portuguese practice – Álvaro Siza ‘Bairro da Malagueira’ –, it will observe a process where context is an operative asset of the design process. This reflection is established in the process of ‘defamiliarization’ (Shklovsky, 1990), considering the interpretation model suggested by ‘Critical Regionalism’, as described by Tzonis and Lefaivre (1986, p. 279). As a ‘measurement’ device, this process serves to (re)open the debate about the pertinence of cultural and physical context to the architectural design process, and contributes in establishing a place identity.
Page: 209-227 (19)
Author: Felicity Morel-Edniebrown
In the face of global interconnectivity where homogenization of culture is endemic, what price individuality and sense of the authentic? While commercial corporate identity is rampant, showing the same branding in Prague as in Pittsburgh, where stands the differentiated meaning of cities and what creates their sense of individuality? This paper will argue that a sustainable and culturally enriched engagement with place primarily comes from understanding the context of the place — its history, its layered meanings and the contexts that individuals draw from their understandings of their physical environment, mediated by their past experience. It will propose that ‘sense of place’ (‘genius loci’) is the physical manifestation of authenticity and outline a simple model for understanding authenticity. It will draw upon examples from Perth, Western Australia to show how the topography and interpretation of the city’s historical connection to water still is a defining factor for city development and how memories of the built environment in the inner city have strongly influenced residents’ sense of place and, by extension, their sense of self.
Page: 228-231 (4)
Author: Hernan Casakin
In an era of globalization, where the progressive deterioration of local values is a dominating characteristic, identity is seen as a fundamental need that encompasses all aspects of human life. One of these identities relates to place and the physical environment. Place identity is concerned with a set of ideas about place and identity from the perspective of a wide range of disciplines. Mainly, it refers to the meaning and importance of places for their inhabitants and users. Readers of this e-book will gain an insight on the role of identity as a basis for the perception, experience, and appreciation of the form of built structures. This e-book explains knowledge in relation to place identity, focusing on people's identity, and those factors that play a significant role in this process. Most of all, the book gives further insight about place identity with regard to global and local contexts, and across multifaceted and multicultural societies. The theme is approached from a number of disciplines that include environmental psychology, philosophy, urban sociology, geography, urban planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture.
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