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Place Attachment with Place Identity and Place Dependence though Design Features in Senior Cohousing Communities

Place Attachment with Place Identity and Place Dependence though Design Features in Senior Cohousing Communities

Melissa Lies

Design, Housing, and Merchandising

The purpose of this study was to examine design features of a rural senior cohousing community that assist residents with place attachment through place identity and place dependence. Place identity and place dependence are part of the two-dimensional framework to that define place attachment (Altman, & Low, 1992; Anton & Lawrence, 2014, 2016; Brown & Raymond, 2007; Kyle, Graefe & Manning, 2005; Manzo & Devine-Wright, 2014; Williams & Vaske, 2003) Place attachment is a “bond or link” between residents, places or things, or the desire to remain close to an object (Hidalgo & Hernandez, 2001).

Ten older adults volunteered to participate in this study from a Midwestern senior cohousing community established in 2012. Purposive sampling was used to recruit residents that had lived at the community for more than six months. Photo-elicitation, a visual research method that incorporates the use of photos with interviews, was used to collect the data. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed and organized using the computer software NVIVO.

After content analysis, emerged themes were categorized by the two-dimensional model of place attachment: place identity and place dependence. The dimension of place dependence had greater support from the findings than place identity. Design features that contribute to autonomy, accessibility, and an easy transition for the older adults from previous residences to the senior cohousing community were related to place dependence. Design features that enable personalization within the older adult’s senior cohousing community environment were related to place identity. This study provides insight into the planning of senior cohousing communities, and the exploration of the two-dimensional framework of place attachment within senior cohousing communities. The poster submission visually represents these findings, and includes photos of design features taken by the senior cohousing community residents that were used in the interview process of this study to support place attachment.

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