Scholarly article on topic 'A Sense of Place within the Landscape in Cultural Settings'

A Sense of Place within the Landscape in Cultural Settings Academic research paper on "Sociology"

Share paper
OECD Field of science
{Place / character / experience / culture}

Abstract of research paper on Sociology, author of scientific article — Nik Mastura Nik Mohammad, Masran Saruwono, Shahrul Yani Said, Wan Ahmad Halawah Wan Hariri

Abstract This paper presents an on-going progress of a study on landscape elements in the context of culture. The study has sought to discover people's perception, experience and responses towards their surroundings based on elements that relate to their culture and norms. Eventually, new developments do not seem to recognize and respect the importance of cultural aspects resulting disoriented buildings. Reviewed of the literature of sense of the place was conducted to rediscover the fundamental notions of place, perception and experience. Therefore, the background review to structure the work concluded places that add value contribute to establish the urban setting and place context.

Academic research paper on topic "A Sense of Place within the Landscape in Cultural Settings"

Available online at

ScienceDirect PfOCSCl ¡0

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 (2013) 506-512 —

AicE-Bs2013London Asia Pacific International Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies

University of Westminster, London, UK, 4-6 September 2013 "From Research to Practice"

A Sense of Place within the Landscape in Cultural Settings

Nik Mastura Nik Mohammad*, Masran Saruwono, Shahrul Yani Said, Wan Ahmad

Halawah Wan Hariri

_Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Selangor. D.E. Malaysia_


This paper presents an on-going progress of a study on landscape elements in the context of culture. The study has sought to discover people's perception, experience and responses towards their surroundings based on elements that relate to their culture and norms. Eventually, new developments do not seem to recognize and respect the importance of cultural aspects resulting disoriented buildings. Reviewed of the literature of sense of the place was conducted to rediscover the fundamental notions of place, perception and experience. Therefore, the background review to structure the work concluded places that add value contribute to establish the urban setting and place context.

© 2013 TheAuthors.Published byElsevierLtd.

Selectionandpeer-reviewunderresponsibilityofCentrefor Environment-Behaviour Studies(cE-Bs),Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.

Keywords: Place; character; experience; culture

1. Introduction

A sense of place within the landscape in cultural settings gives a comprehensive account of many definitions has been known explain of place. As the author's initiative review of a few articles and books identified three dimensions of visual, psychology and spiritual aspects of sense of place. Among accounts of critical scholar discussions found the term 'place' is defined as space states between people and the environment setting. Interpretations of reviewed studies engaged to better understand on how to discover people's perception, experience and responses towards their surroundings based on elements that relate to their culture and norms. These components will form the skeletal framework of the study in establishing individual understanding of sense of place. A value and uniqueness character as part of the important issue in environment behaviour study.

Therefore, sense of place plays an important aspect in cultural context by integrating user and place. Other review focused on the effects of how people 'feel' and "appreciate place and other related contributions. The definitions and theory used by various authors are reviewed, who are affiliated with the field of behaviour studies, such as landscape architects and urban designers expanding on a few of the ideas presented from the last conferences. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: Section 1.1 literature on the sense of place in three dimensions and study reviewed results are presented in Table 1 and Figure 1; Figure 2 concludes the paper. Instead of thinking about the importance of place identity, we suggest the researcher should understand the place as overlaid sets, subsets, infinite possibilities of interactions. In many ways, the reason why this writing reflects the current overview being offered by practices such as anthropologist, landscape architects, and architects and other urbanists.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +6019 2826229; fax: +603 55211501. E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies (cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.11.054

1.1. What is place

Having reviewed the principal characteristics of place by Tuan et. al. (2011) and Relph (1987) accepted by many professionals in the field, it is now possible to propose a definition of place that will be used throughout this study. It will be what a practicing would call a standard definition of place. In this definition, knowing the place is a recognizing how people use different places to fulfill the practical needs of living is one of the building blocks on which a distinctive sense of place can be enhanced in the urban landscape. In this regard, reviewed literatures explained that place affected by several factors as follows: by defining it has unique locations, attachment to the cultural settings. Experiencing on how inhabited the place are reviewed by Thwaites, Tuan and Cullen. The studies of places inhabited by ordinary people, explanations of why and how they inhabit them, have become a focus of an increasing number of scholarly works. Classical works on the place and identity in cultural settings has come from anthropology and historians, to include Lynch, Schulz and Cullen. The classical understanding of the cultural setting is being enriched and challenged by Landscape Architects, as in the work of Thwaites and Simkins and Carmona and their fellows' researchers. The meaning and understanding of sense of place concluded by Lewis Mumford, J.B. Jackson, Roger Trancik and Amos Rapoport remain important figures in practice and education nationally emerges as a wide-ranging scholar of the processes describing the place identity within the landscape in the cultural setting. Telling about "place' is a space which is invested understandings of behavioral appropriateness; social meaning and cultural expectation. A place setting is a repetitive visit that affords safety, harmony and spiritual. Place are fusions of human and cultural landscape elements which centres on the immediate experience of the world. Experience of place can range in all scales as whole entities, syntheses of natural and man-made objects, activities and functions, and meanings given by intentions. Insideness is individual spirit that relates and reflects in physical forms, and express in rituals and repeated activities which maintain peculiar properties of a place. Thus, a personal experience is the essence of a Sense of place.

1.2. The meaning of sense of place

Literatures on book review and articles of the most significant contribution to the field study of sense of place within the landscape cultural settings. Generally, study carried out the experienced in a number of different dimensions. Scholarly literatures are generally sourced within subscribed model and theory that contribute the understanding of sense of place. The description of these dimensions as found in the literature has been varied, but the following these dimensions have appeared, namely, the visual, psychology and spiritual. The following definitions give the meaning of each of these three dimensions.

1.2.1. Sense of place in relation to psychology dimension

According to Thwaites and Simkins come out a chronology that distinguished the dimensions of visual, psychology and spiritual directly tell a "place' is a way of seeing and perceiving. Table 1 shows those points of three dimensions that achieve a unique sense of place. The place significant was describing both of the environments and discussed on "hierarchy of identity and placelessness" (p. 5 & 6) by Tuan et. al. In this situation, theory of experts has significant activities, exploring space related to place to man's physical environment (academia and practice) and contribution of place attachment. Mohammad and Saruwono argue on how to achieve a unique sense of place, cultural landscape elements should be designed as part of a whole. The components of cultural landscape elements play a significant role in defining the sense of place. The CLE components are people, landform, water bodies, climate, economy, social, political which influence on the identity of place. This view is supported by Thwaites and Steele who writes the experience that people perceive in the sense of place. In summary, these definitions clearly indicate the terms referred to people's experience, human response and people's perception. The theories of place with more experience than the others belief is referred to people's perception, people's experience and human response. The studies of place relationship covered with cultural issues significant to human psychology and behavior activity.

1.2.2. Sense of place in relation to spiritual dimension

Several studies investigating sense of place in relation to the spiritual dimension have been carried out as a part of characteristic research study during the last researches on how to make the retain identity of the place that represent three diverse geographical, cultural and spiritual settings, but they perform similar functions that provide a unique sense of identity and place meaning. Sense of place is rich in theory and have own rich characteristic which makes easy for people to recognize city uniqueness due to a strong sense of place. As "Being in" these old cities can also bring people back in reminiscent of younger days. The definition "sense of place" includes where the meaning and

physical elements similar to people experiential place representing beliefs and about their memories. Clearly, this shows that by experiencing with these great cities from different diverse cultural geography settings explore on what makes these places meaningful. In Table 1, it shows that other studies have considered the relationship to places and people's experience, people's perception and people's response to the setting. Such experiences reflect Tuan's theories relating to the human characters, how they form attachments to home and surroundings, their feelings about space and place that affected by the sense of time. As Cullen, argues on what to achieve as a unique sense of place, individual landscape elements designed as part of a place. In this regard, taking a cue from the qualities of pre modern towns and the purpose of designing places not only facilitating of daily activities but providing symbolic and affective qualities is more important to bring people to the place. Some of environmental psychologist also argue the experience of place is one the most important factors in the sense of place. The ideas of spirit within the place or character of place make up the sense of place, and how feelings like stimulated, excited, joyous are an example of this experience. A place is just not an object, but through the area and experience of meaningful activities. To the authors' knowledge, the experience is felt through all the sense such as sight, hearing, taste and touch by Tuan has been scarcely discussed from the theoretical point of view.

1.2.3. Sense of place in relation to visual dimension

Table 1 show the visual dimension such as buildings has become very popular topic to bring up the character of the place. In regMds to personal history, person's images by experiencing the visual attributes of localities. As Malaysians, we have been overcome with western national myths about their history. Those images in films and articles and books reviewed shape our perceptions and expectations about places and tells us how to relate to their places. Preliminary work on visual was undertaken by Thwaites how important the building heights in the design of the city and with the certain image of the city affected. However, a number of studies have found that the idea of three dimensions has overarching from those three notable authors, such as Carmona and their fellow researchers, Cullen and Thwaites and Simkins. To outcome, the methodology was used in the S.O.P in relation to visual is most appropriate to the place.

In addition, the three dimensions described above are obviously essential in make up the general framework establishing the behavioural studies aspects of place in the cultural context of the sense of place study. The idea of three dimensions such as visual, physical and spiritual necessary visually need to test the mechanism and attributes of these concepts of sense of place for a city landscape. In parallel, Tuan highlighted the significant localities makes an arising from human psychology and behavior activity.

Table 1. Concepts of place.

Landscape elements in cultural


& I S J

3.. „„

ytil cra la E £

ilibis rte tin f o iab

ces lai n oi e ca e g a ityt ten

cA co S itNo p S amI eId

^ p h y s i c a l ^

Visual Spiritual


1.Matthew Carmona, Tim Heath, Taner Oc, Steve Tiesdell (2006)

2. Kevin Lynch (1988)

3.Kevin Thwaites, Ian Simkins (2007)

4.Christian Norberg-Schulz (1985)

5.Gordon Cullen (1971)

6.Yi-Fu Tuan (Seventh printing, 2011)_





< V V V V V V V V V V V V V


2. Methods

This particular research on the selected authors for a place theory has recently been presented in Figure 1 is the important stage for seeking and discovering people's experience, people's perception and people's response towards theirs surroundings based on elements that relate to people's relationships with places. However, several practical questions arise when dealing with place. In this level, place discussions are important starting researches since the place provide rich meanings for study. In cultural context study, Tuan influenced culture learning to know the neighborhood that requires the landmark significantly identified. It is important to identify the sense of place strongly influenced by the existence of significant overwhelming the image of the city is rather unique for each city of different characters and culture. In parallel of the author reviews, the work of Lynch found a good relationship between people and place. It is the key to predict that sense of place is defined as the physical (location of place), people experience and the locality setting. Cullen argued that to achieve a unique sense of place, part of townscape should be part of the design and details seen to have a life of their own setting. They satisfy their needs through emotional response in landscape and urban settings through experiential approach. Indirectly, for Cullen and Schulz using terms such as 'spirit of place' or genius loci which has been transformed the Architectural Review passionate into an analytical and design tool such as a form of buildings, natural soft elements; trees, water elements and so on and possess the area. Afterwards, the theoretical framework had been the basis from which Thwaites et al. explored and reviewed, and theory and framework used to structure of works and detailed findings of the study. In a recent book by Lynch explored the aspect of the physical setting appropriateness entire the city cohesively. Each discipline tends to have its own favored methods. By contrast, the perceptual theory holds that perception is indirect experiential landscape, but several approaches might be useful models. The points to issues of study are multisensory which explore the collective literature and precedent reviews are catering for future reference that will ensure the endurance and continuation of culture and place. It concluded places that add value contribute to establish the urban setting and place context. However, to the best thoughtful of authors'; only few publications can be found and available in the literatures that discuss the issue of sense of place. It is crucial to addressed as in Table 2. To answer this, we present an original approach which conventional in all situations, little attention has been paid to place and space behavior. (See also Table 1)

Table 2. The Scholars' achievements

Experiential Place/Space Cultural Place/Space Behaviour Place/Space Socio economic space


1.Matthew Carmona, Tim Heath, Taner Oc, Steve Tiesdell (2006) Places Places Landmark, District, Path Sites

2.Kevin Lynch (1988) Places Places Landmark, District, Path District

3.Kevin Thwaites, Ian Simkins (2007) Places Places Landmark, District, Path District

4.Christian Norberg-Schulz (1985) Places Places Environments Sites

5.Gordon Cullen (1971) Spaces Spaces Spatial layouts Landmark

6.Yi-Fu Tuan (Seventh printing, 2011) Spaces Spaces Environments Sites

The findings in Table 1 are retrieved from three (3) ongoing academic oral presentation and one (1) academic publication milestone of study on the sense of place. Based on the approach presented in Table 1 and Table 2, the theory philosophy is reviewed, theory and framework used to structure of works and detailed of the findings. It concluded places that add value contribute to establish the urban setting and place context. The study deals with the existence sense of place are related to cultural variables, such as religious and ethnic background. Shamai is right that seven levels were categorized from the three major-belonging to a place. The three dimensions overarching forms the important attributes of sense of place identified in Table 1 can be understood to cross-cut the four different kind of notion of place (refer Table 2).

1 2 3 4 5 6

Fig. 1. Multi-disciplinary hits of searches

The searches transgressed multiple domains, across disciplines. Signifying the plurality of issues involved in sense of place, issues within that realm. All the researchers by scholarly they derived to the same goal and objectives which is sense of place. A collection of subsets in Figure 1 above which goes to make a picture of relationships are established among the subsets once the subsets are chosen, and the collection has a definite structure of the authors. To understand this structure by labeling these elements 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6 from the authors reviewed. The following questions will be addressed what are the possible relationships among this set. The structure illustrated in both diagram satisfies the axiom since the characteristics is defined. However, in this paper the writer are not so much concerned with the fact that a structure diagram happens to be, but the contain overlapping units do occur. These overarching have forms of the significant to the value such as prosperity, freedom and life as stated by Shamai (1991).

However, it was understood that the cross-cut means that the significance arising from human experience and behavioral activity as mentioned by Thwaites localities by Tuan (2011). Several publications have appeared in recent years documenting of love landscape is an essential part of the belonging to a "place" on how people value the "place to place". In the 2000s, under the perception of the notion of place, researcher started examines the experiential place. In author perspectives, the role as a researcher must understand the best ways in which the community gathers the nature of the genius loci's community and its traditions of built form. Among others, the views of urban designers and stake holders in particular need to analyses the authenticity of the place, sense of place, and character. This study aims to seek these arguments of sense of place in relation to how people perceive the place today yet, it challenges the ways in notions of place. This study proposes a new approach to landscape architectural as part and human responses to inhabited landscape and their "place".

3. The factors contributing to the sense of place

The place is very subjective for people perceive the natural environments about this sense of place. The emotional aspect of experiencing the place means the dimension of physiological and physical interaction. The combinations of physical and social attributes creates the environment between people and environment from negative or positive from the place and tell to the environment. Steele described that people tend to experience with certain setting from the strong character of the place. The understanding of a good urban design and preservation to suit various purposes such as the pattern of the place, the stories of place tell us the character of the place. Lynch described the method of environmental psychology included cognitive mapping as one of the components in a research study. As a result, there are varied sense of place between people and their experiences and their background; also the place characteristics of the physical setting influence the sense of place. Thwaites et al. stated the scale, centered, direction and transition area are most significant aspects of place character. Therefore reviewed literature revealed that the physical features of place creating the meaning and character that contribute to make sense of place. With understanding meanings and concepts, symbols and identity of place cognitive and effectiveness of place bonds with place. Stedman argued that the sense of place definition is very difficult to define. Figure 2 is the idea of five elements such as landmarks, districts, buildings, sites and monuments as necessary image visually needed to test the mechanism and attributes of these elements for a city landscape. The researcher acknowledges through the understanding of the value is significant to the

issues of sense of place and image ability. The processes of selection from the resources and understanding of the targeting the identity revealed a value with respond to the space.




Landmarks -►




Attractions Identity of place

Fig. 2. Processes of selection and targeting in a sense of the notion of place

As may be seen, above in Figure 3, the process of selection and targeting of the sense of place relies on understanding of values. This approach is due to the values, and the overall measurement results are summarized in Figure 3. There is a good match between selection of resources and targeting the forms of attractions and identity of place. A novel view of the degree of familiarity with a place plays an important role in a sense of place and place meaning in some of the studied reviewed. Familiarity includes recognizing by entering it or being there. The most likely explanation of how human perception results such as similar to some of the place in our memory as to a visual impact and drama. These conclusions, which Kevin discusses in experiential the place, add weight to the argument that peoples response or knowledgeable about the place; because their expertise about the environment and place by looking at in differently.

4. Culture

Culture material is a branch of anthropology that focuses within the landscape as reflections and tools of cultures. Elements of the cultural landscape are increasingly part of the field. Geographers have contributed to the culture elements, as well (see Lewis 1961). As researchers are more becoming more reflective and studying systematically the indicators in our environment. Culture; Tuan described literatures have emphasized the used of culture on people relationship with places. The truth of a new term known as "topophilia" has no single sense of place, instead of responses to the environment. The essence of Tuan's argument is that understanding of place is through a psychology observation of human bond between people and place. Zeisel described an identity itself is one of the most difficult concepts to define because it refers to the relationship of the self to the environment. My own view is that what Zeisel insists is a part of a person's total identity involves identification of places, whereas people fight for the identity places. In 1981, Lynch, in his perceptive article, sees identity as being the simplest form of sense, of which the narrow meaning of the term is a sense of place. It is tempting to credit many of the succeeding changes to Relph remind us that place reflected by the notion of identity as being an expression of adaptation, assimilation, accommodation and socialization of knowledge of each other. However, the new methods shall be viewed within the context of the identity of place and is always the very basic of our experience of the place as opposed to any other. To say, this is to point to wider implications for the image of place is its identity and to understand something of the social structure and culture structure of image ability is an essential prerequisite in understanding identity. The most important part of identity cannot simply relate to the distinctiveness of the physical environment and the ability for it to be recognized or recalled vividly by the observer. They may also sometimes point to shared geographical setting is the other aspect of location that has a strong influence to the identity of place. It is necessary to adopt adding values to place an essential part in understanding the identity and character of the place. My own limited research has to detect the emergence of culture studies per see their. A close watch on this area will necessary in the future study.

5. Discussion

There were limits of study to what one was able to do and the extent to which one could modify the natural environment. Relevant findings and analyzed in relation to theories of "physical sense" and issues and problems orientation of people response to their surroundings has been given thought. Therefore, Cultural landscape has developed "system of orientation" that facilitates a clear environmental image and concepts of "identification" and

"character." The context of culture investigated, there is a need for continued research and application of high combination of visual, physical and spiritual within the place appropriate at their place making and contribute to the sense of place. It has been known that significant places of Old Great Cities of the world have their own sense of place and meaning. The most interesting discovery of each place is the unique character that triggers the feeling of placeness. The possibilities for maintaining and reviving man's sense of place do not lie in the preservation of old places. Museumisation does not thoroughly mean maintaining the sense of place and history. The strong combination of visual, physical and spiritual dimensions of the place contribute tremendously in creating the Sense of Place. However, places have different levels of sense of place that contribute to social activities based on the relationships of place meaning. Most study on places and their meaning is the important issue in the built environment. Regards to the new development and issue of change in the contemporary context, placenessness described as what contribute to the place. The full paradigm of how people's experiences of places and this includes the related of character and legibility, physical and behavioral activity that comprise our emotional relationships to places. Clearly, further study will be needed on how people's experienced on environment involves the degree of familiarity with place and expertise in their own knowledge about the place is still necessary before obtaining a definite answer to what is a sense of place. The next stage of our study will be experimental confirmation of our theory.


The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable comments and suggestions of the reviewers, which have improved the quality of this paper. I am grateful for comments made by the chairperson and participants at the conference and also to my supervisors.


Cullen, G. (2012). Concise Townscape: Routledge. Cullen, Gordon. (1995). Concise Townscape: Routledge.

Jackson, John Brinckerhoff. (1984). Discovering the vernacular landscape. New Haven, Ct.: Yale University Press. Lynch, Kevin. (1981). A theory good city form. Cambridge, Ma: MIT press.

Mumford, Lewis. (1961). The city in history: Its origins, its transformations, and its prospects (Vol. 67). New York: Mariner Books.

Nik Mohammad, Nik Mastura and, & Saruwono, Masran. (2012). Exploration sense of place for an old city district of York, Istanbul and Bangkok.

Science Direct(10).

Norberg-Schulz, C. (1976). The phenomenon of place. Architectural Association Quarterly, 5(4), 3-10.

Relph, Edward C. (1987). The modern urban landscape: 1880 to the present. Baltimore: : Johns Hopkins University Press.

Seamon, David, & Sowers, Jacob. (2008). Place and placelessness, Edward Relph. Key texts in human geography, 43-51.

Stedman, Richard C. (2002). Toward a Social Psychology of Place Predicting Behavior from Place-Based Cognitions, Attitude, and Identity.

Environment and behavior, 34(5), 561-581. Steele, Fritz. (1981). The sense of place (Vol. 87): CBI Publishing Company Boston, MA.

Thwaites, K., & Simkins, I. (2007). Experiential landscape : an approach to people, place and space. London [etc.]: Routledge. Thwaites, Kevin, & Simkins, Ian. (2007). Experiential landscape: an approach to people, place and space: Routledge London. Trancik, Roger. (1986). Finding lost space: theories of urban design: Wiley.

Tuan, Yi-Fu. (1974). Topophilia: A study of environmental perception, attitudes, and values: Columbia University Press.

Tuan, Yi-Fu, & Hoelscher, Steven. (2011). Space and place: The perspective of experience (Seventh ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Zeisel, John. (1984). Inquiry by design: Tools for environment-behavior research (Vol. 5): Cambridge University Press.