A Place Meaning Scale for Rural Communities Undergoing Landscape Change

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Sense of place provides a strategy to identify qualities of landscape change in rural areas undergoing urban development, yet a scale to assess such qualities has not been developed. Research on place meanings tends to draw from either an interpretivist or positivist approach but does not integrate them. This research integrates the two approaches with a mixed-methods design that resulted in the first scale of regional place meanings for two counties undergoing landscape change on the urban-rural fringe. We conducted interviews and focus groups with stakeholders in Jasper County, IA and Will County, IL, followed by a household survey to assess the psychometric properties of our scale. Eight regional place meanings were identified to characterize the reasons why residents developed connections with places. This paper responds to previous calls for research to merge different philosophical paradigms and it directs attention within the place scholarship to the study of rural communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1206-1225
Number of pages20
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2022


  • Land use planning
  • mixed methods
  • regional scale
  • rural land use change
  • sense of place

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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