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Changing places: The role of sense of place in perceptions of social, environmental and overdevelopment risks

Quinn T., Bousquet F., Guerbois C.. 2019. Global Environmental Change, 57 : 9 p..

An increasing focus on place based planning and adaptation processes brings to the fore the importance of understanding the situated experience of social and environmental change. Populations do not respond uniformly to environmental and social change, and given that consensus is needed to successfully achieve inclusive adaptation it is important to understand how and why people are more sensitive to certain changes and risks over others. Using a sense of place lens, we investigate how an individual's relationship with their property and their town shapes their sensitivity to a range of risks. To investigate this, we conducted a survey in towns in South Africa, UK and France (n¿=¿707) to examine the relationship between multiple dimensions of sense of place with place-based risks. We find that relationship with place matters differently for perception of social, environmental and overdevelopment risk. In particular, we find that feeling safe in place correlates with reduced perceptions of social risks but increases the likelihood of perceiving environmental risk. The role of place in risk perception is stronger at the property scale than the town scale, and it is only at the property scale that place meaning is related to risk perception. Our findings contribute to theory on the subjective experience of place-based risks and has implications for how social and environmental change can be communicated and managed.

Thématique : Géographie; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières

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