Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 409–427 | Cite as

Neighbourhood attachment in deprived areas: evidence from the north of England

  • Mark Livingston
  • Nick Bailey
  • Ade Kearns
Original Paper


Those living in deprived areas may have a greater reliance on the neighbourhood as a setting for social activity. However, the reduced quality of deprived neighbourhoods may make attachment in such places less likely. Other factors, like high turnover and social mix, may also act to reduce an individual’s attachment in these neighbourhoods. Using qualitative methods, this study examines both emotional and functional attachment to deprived neighbourhoods, specifically considering the impact of high turnover and of social mix. Social mix is broadly defined, including but not limited to ethnic and tenure mix. Many respondents reported strong emotional attachments to their communities, with the presence of strong social networks and a sense of security the most important contributing factors. Functional attachments and attachments to the physical environment were weak or absent. High turnover in deprived areas was found to reduce place attachment by undermining social networks, lowering social interaction, and eroding trust and feelings of security. There was little evidence that social mix in any dimension reduced attachment significantly. However, high residential turnover and a rapidly changing (ethnic) mix in one area had led to increased anxieties and reduced attachments. The research shows that rather than systemic factors being dominant, place attachment in deprived areas is very context dependent (e.g. in terms of where the neighbourhood is located in relation to others). For an individual, also experiential, historical and personal factors are strong determinants of attachment.


Place attachment Deprivation Population turnover Social mix Social cohesion 



The authors are grateful to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for funding and supporting the research on which the paper is based and to the members of the advisory board who gave their time and invaluable advice. We are also grateful to all those who gave up their time to be interviewed, without which this research would not be possible. Thanks also to PH Research for their support in recruiting respondents.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban StudiesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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