Numerous scholars agree that contact with natural landscapes has benefits for the landscape and the person experiencing them, including increased environmentally-responsible behaviors as well as psychological, cognitive, physiological, and social benefits. People develop a sense of place in outdoor landscapes while experiencing the physical environment, and sense of place is strengthened by place attachment – one’s emotional ties to a place. According to Williams and Patterson (1999), place attachment is perceived through four systems of meaning: 1) aesthetic/inherent, 2) goal-directed/instrumental, 3) cultural/symbolic, and 4) individual/expressive. The present study sought to understand which of these four systems of meaning are the most salient for undergraduate college students in outdoor landscapes where they experience place attachment. Findings from the content analysis of Yelp reviews of outdoor places and student surveys indicate that cultural/symbolic and individual/expressive systems of meaning are more prominent for students in meaningful outdoor places than aesthetic/inherent and goal-directed/symbolic systems of meaning. Implications for landscape management on college campuses are discussed.
Paper prepared for the Geography Capstone.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Todd Lookingbill
Routman, Emily. "Systems of Meaning in Place Attachment." Paper for Geography Capstone, University of Richmond, April 2020.