The practice of measuring social values of river landscapes, such as sense of place, is still in its infancy. Making choices for using certain concepts and indicators is difficult and not always consciously done. For example, what are the best methods or tools to elicit social values or stakeholder perspectives?
Using case studies from Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark, this study compared different methods and approaches for mapping sense of place in river landscapes and reflected on how the outcomes of such studies can inform participatory processes.
Findings and implications
Sense of place is captured and measured in diverse ways and linked to different evaluative frameworks, such as places of recreational value, meaningful places or in relation to different scenarios for river restoration. The choice in concepts and methods depends strongly on the purpose of the study. Both public participation GIS (mapping of places) and traditional surveys supported public involvement, but maps have the benefits of having a clear purpose in communication. A critical note is that studying of sense of place in itself will not facilitate this dialogue; it requires additional efforts to facilitate gatherings of citizens, researchers, planners and practitioners to enable joint knowledge co-creation processes.
Image on the right: Example of one of the Public Participation GIS maps from the Lahn study region in Germany. It shows the spatial distribution of meaningful places located by participants (Source: Suppl. Material).
Last modified: 21/01/2020