The role of change- and stability-oriented place attachment in rural community resilience: a case study in south-west Scotland

S Zwiers*, M Markantoni, D Strijker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
194 Downloads (Pure)


Although recent research into resilience acknowledges the importance of attachment to place and claims that place is often the basis for community development, this relationship has not yet been explored in great detail. We research the link between people, place, and community resilience by examining and unravelling the role of place attachment in rural communities. We address the gap in current research by conducting interviews and eliciting mental maps from residents in two remote rural villages in Scotland. The relationship between people and place can be explained by heterogeneity in a community, and this is influenced by the different aspects of place attachment: social, personal, and environmental. We therefore introduce two types of place attachment: change-oriented and stability-oriented. Both types of place attachment influence individual and community resilience. Resilience and change-oriented place attachment can be restored after a disturbance and both are able to adapt to change. Stability-oriented place attachment, in contrast, can result in nostalgia and fear of loss or change of existing place aspects. However, this inclination towards protective behaviour can also enhance community resilience. Long-term residents and in-migrants each have different types of place attachment, and each can strengthen or weaken community resilience. Long-term residents are more likely to have nostalgic feelings which result in stability-oriented attachment, making them less able to adapt to change. We argue that length of residence is not a factor in resilience building as such, and therefore this article makes an original contribution to the debate on resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281 - 300
Number of pages20
JournalCommunity Development Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPrint publication - 29 Aug 2016

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