Cultural Representations in the Built Environment and Their Relationship with Individuals’ Place-identity

By Parisa Kalali and Gethin Davison.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Abstract: Place-identity is one of the dimensions of the bond between people and their environment, and it defines their identity in relation to the place where they live. Having a strong place-identity enables people to respond to their personal and social needs and provides them with a sense of self-esteem, congruity with the place, belonging and attachment to where they live. However, the continued achievement of positive place-identity can become challenging for residents when the built environment is subject to physical or social change, or where levels of socio-cultural diversity are high: to what extent can a diverse group of people form positive, and identity-shaping, bonds with a common place? This question becomes an increasingly important one as our cities become more and more diverse. And what is the role of city planners and designers in managing contrasting or competing desires for place-identity in our multicultural cities? This paper establishes a theoretical framework for an empirical investigation of the relationships between place-identity and cultural representation, in conditions of socio-cultural diversity. It offers this framework by arguing that cultural representation in the built environment influences people’s place-identity. Furthermore, it is asserted that the creation or alteration of place-identity can be a motivation for individuals and groups as they seek to manipulate the built environment.

Keywords: Place, Identity, Culture

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.63-76. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.071MB).

Parisa Kalali

Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate School of Urbanism, Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Parisa Kalali is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She has done her Bachelor's and Master's in urban planning and design. Her research interests are place-related studies, cultural studies, environmental psychology, globalization, and multiculturalism studies.

Dr. Gethin Davison

Lecturer, Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Gethin Davison is a Lecturer at the University of New South Wales.