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Open AccessArticle

Incorporating Physical Environment-Related Factors in an Assessment of Community Attachment: Understanding Urban Park Contributions

1
School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Chang’an, Xi’an 710119, China
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Shaanxi Tourism Information Engineering Laboratory, Chang’an, Xi’an 710119, China
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Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Tourism Informatics, Chang’an, Xi’an 710119, China
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Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5603; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205603
Received: 17 June 2019 / Revised: 2 October 2019 / Accepted: 10 October 2019 / Published: 11 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
Community sociologists have examined community attachment through an almost exclusive focus on people’s social relations. Recent research efforts have noted the neglect of the physical place in traditional community sociological studies. Doing this has brought the physical environment into their discussions of community attachment. Despite this progress, we remain limited in our understanding of the physical environment’s contribution to peoples’ attachment to their communities and whether its effect on community attachment is applicable in the context of urban settings. In an effort to expand our knowledge of this topic, this study explored the contributions of the urban physical environment on community attachment. By selecting the Discovery Green Park as a typical form of physical environment in Houston, Texas, this study sought to investigate how people’s levels of community attachment could be predicted by: (1) peoples’ interactions with an urban park; (2) people’s emotional connections with such a park; and (3) peoples’ social interactions with others within the park. After conducting a series of block model regression analyses, we found that community attachment was not completely defined by social factors, but also depended upon peoples’ emotional connections with the local physical environment and the social interactions happening in those settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: community attachment; physical-natural related factors; urban parks community attachment; physical-natural related factors; urban parks
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Xu, Y.; Matarrita-Cascante, D.; Lee, J.H.; Luloff, A. Incorporating Physical Environment-Related Factors in an Assessment of Community Attachment: Understanding Urban Park Contributions. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5603.

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