Redefining community based on place attachment in a connected world

Gurney, Georgina G., Blythe, Jessica, Adams, Helen, Adger, W. Neil, Curnock, Matthew, Faulkner, Lucy, James, Thomas, and Marshall, Nadine A. (2017) Redefining community based on place attachment in a connected world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114 (38). pp. 10077-10082.

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Abstract

The concept of community is often used in environmental policy to foster environmental stewardship and public participation, crucial prerequisites of effective management. However, prevailing conceptualizations of community based on residential location or resource use are limited with respect to their utility as surrogates for communities of shared environment-related interests, and because of the localist perspective they entail. Thus, addressing contemporary sustainability challenges, which tend to involve transnational social and environmental interactions, urgently requires additional approaches to conceptualizing community that are compatible with current globalization. We propose a framing for redefining community based on place attachment (i.e., the bonds people form with places) in the context of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Area threatened by drivers requiring management and political action at scales beyond the local. Using data on place attachment from 5,403 respondents residing locally, nationally, and internationally, we identified four communities that each shared a type of attachment to the reef and that spanned conventional location and use communities. We suggest that as human–environment interactions change with increasing mobility (both corporeal and that mediated by communication and information technology), new types of people–place relations that transcend geographic and social boundaries and do not require ongoing direct experience to form are emerging. We propose that adopting a place attachment framing to community provides a means to capture the neglected nonmaterial bonds people form with the environment, and could be leveraged to foster transnational environmental stewardship, critical to advancing global sustainability in our increasingly connected world.

Item ID: 52018
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: community, telecoupling, place identity, public participation, stewardship
Funders: Australian Government's National Environmental Research Program (NERP), Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), University of Exeter, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Agency
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 05:06
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160499 Human Geography not elsewhere classified @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy @ 30%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 60%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 40%
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