Environmental Management

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 566–580 | Cite as

The Influence of Place Attachment and Experience Use History on Perceived Depreciative Visitor Behavior and Crowding in an Urban National Park

  • Renate Eder
  • Arne ArnbergerEmail author


Research on recreational place attachment suggests that place identity, or the emotional/symbolic ties people have to places, and place dependence, which describes a functional attachment to a specific place, influence the perception of social and environmental site conditions. Recent research, however, has found that place attachment is not always a predictor of such perceptions. This study investigated the influence of place attachment and experience use history on the perception of depreciative visitor behavior, recreation impacts and crowding in an urban national park. In 2006, 605 on-site visitors to the heavily-used Viennese part of the Danube Floodplains National Park were asked about past experience, place attachment, perceptions of depreciative visitor behavior, crowding, changes in visitor numbers during the past ten years, and recreation impacts on wildlife. Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the two dimensions of place attachment. Linear regression analyses found that place identity and place dependence were related to some perceived depreciative visitor behaviors and visitor number changes but not to crowding, while experience use history additionally related to perceived crowding. Visitors with higher place attachment and past experience were more sensitive to social and environmental site conditions. Management implications of the findings are discussed.


Danube Floodplains National Park Place attachment Protected area management Recreation use Recreation perceptions Vienna 



The study was co-financed by the Austrian Man and Biosphere Program (UNESCO), administered by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). Project partners were the Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, the Vienna Forest Department and the Danube Floodplains National Park Administration. The authors wish to thank four anonymous reviewers for their comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation PlanningUniversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences ViennaViennaAustria

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