The role of place attachment in public perceptions of a re-landscaping intervention in the river Waal (The Netherlands)

Laura Verbrugge (Corresponding Author), Riyan van den Born

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
306 Downloads (Pure)


Rivers are among the most heavily managed landscapes worldwide. The meanings people ascribe to river landscapes and their preferences for management have implications for public support for management decisions. This paper reports on a postal survey (N = 1102) on perceived landscape qualities (place attachment, scenic beauty and safety perception) and public perceptions of a planned river intervention in four residential areas along the river Waal (The Netherlands). The objectives of this study were to (1) examine the relationship between place attachment and socio-demographic and geographic variables, and (2) explore the role of perceived landscape qualities in public perceptions of a planned river intervention. Multiple regression analyses showed that socio-demographic and geographic variables explain 21–41% of variation in place attachment dimensions (including place identity, place dependence, social bonding, and narrative bonding). We found that local residents have intermediate to strong bonds with the area and that village residents were more attached than city residents. Narrative bonding was tested as a separate dimension, which resulted in a coherent set of statements with good reliability. Overall, the planned intervention was positively evaluated, especially in terms of improving flood safety. Social bonding, scenic beauty, and recreational value correlated positively with the evaluation scores. Our findings emphasize the importance of place as a social environment in residents’ responses to re-landscaping river interventions and we discuss opportunities to engage local communities and sustain social processes in river management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-250
Number of pages10
JournalLandscape and urban planning
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • Attitude
  • Flood risk
  • Narratives
  • River management
  • Sense of place
  • n/a OA procedure


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