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2009 - Historic Environment and Sense of Place

In 2009 'Heritage Counts', focused on the role of the historic environment in shaping what individuals think and feel about where they live – their sense of place.

Farmer's market at St Giles church, Shipbourne
Farmer's market at St Giles church, Shipbourne © English Heritage

New research

  • Adults who live in areas of higher levels of historic environment are likely to have a stronger sense of place (1)
  • Young people and adults who are more interested in the historic environment are likely to have a stronger sense of place (1)
  • Young people and adults who cite a local building or monument as special are likely to have a stronger sense of place (1)

(1) When other socio-economic factors that impact on sense of place are held equal.

A summary of the research can be found in the 'Heritage Counts 2009' report below.

Sense of place research

For 'Heritage Counts 2009', The Historic Environment Forum commissioned Newcastle University's Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies and Bradley Research and Consulting to undertake a ground breaking study which would provide robust evidence that the historic environment has a positive and significant impact on people's sense of place.

A literature review on sense of place, social capital and the historic environment provided the theoretical framework for understanding these relationships further. A national survey of 500 adults across the country living in areas of differing levels of historic environment was then used to measure the independent impact of living in historic areas on sense of place. This was new direction for research because it proved the importance of the historic environment for all – regardless of socio-economic factors or whether there had been any recent investment in the historic environment.

The complete research reports are available below.

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