Population and Environment

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 103-125

First online:

Neighborhood naming as an index of attachment to place

  • Ralph B. TaylorAffiliated withDepartment of Criminal Justice, Temple University
  • , Stephen D. GottfredsonAffiliated withDepartment of Criminal Justice, Temple University
  • , Sidney BrowerAffiliated withSchool of Social Work and Community Planning, University of Maryland

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One aspect of attachment to place may relate to neighborhood naming. That is, recent investigations have found that in many communities large numbers of residents can supply locality labels. The most recent studies, however, have failed to confirm the importance of local social involvement as a predictor of naming. Following the earlier suggestion of Shumaker and Taylor (1983) that attachment dynamics can operate at the group level, we focus on small, local groups by analyzing street blocks. Results support our hypothesis that groups with more shared local ties are more able to supply a neighborhood name. This relationship was also obtained when we examined purely individual-level covariation. Results underscore the multilevel nature of attachment processes and how they are both social and psychological in nature. Links between cognitive and affective components of attachment and practical outcomes such as local problem solving are discussed.