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


  • Place meanings of and attachment to changing river landscapes.
  • Inclusion of narratives and local history in place attachment scale.
  • Social bonding positively correlated to residents’ perceptions of intervention.


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.

© 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



Journal publication

Verbrugge, L., & van den Born, R. (2018). The role of place attachment in public perceptions of a re-landscaping intervention in the river Waal (The Netherlands). Landscape and Urban Planning, 177, 241–250.

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Replication dataset

This dataset concern local stakeholders’ perceptions and their expectations with respect to the construction of longitudinal dams in the Dutch river Waal. Dataset has restricted access to protect the privacy of participants.

Search categories

Data-collection methods: Questionnaires/ surveys |

Management goals: Landscape quality | Stakeholder participation |

Spatial scale: Reach |

Study areas: Waal river (NL) |

Related storylines

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Laura Verbrugge
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Last modified: 28/08/2018


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Laura Verbrugge

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