Symbolic Ties That Bind

Place Attachment in the Plaza
  • Setha M. Low
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 12)


Place attachment is the symbolic relationship formed by people giving culturally shared emotional/affective meanings to a particular space or piece of land that provides the basis for the individual’s and group’s understanding of and relation to the environment. This chapter applies this definition of place attachment in order to identify a range of types of place attachment in cultural terms, and to present ethnographic examples of each type. It is argued that while there are often strong individualistic feelings that may be unique to specific people, these feelings are embedded in a cultural milieu. Thus, place attachment is more than an emotional and cognitive experience, and includes cultural beliefs and practices that link people to place. This discussion is illustrated with examples of how these often overlapping place attachment processes occur in the central plaza of San José, Costa Rica. Future research directions for a cultural analysis of place attachment are suggested as part of the conclusion.


Place Attachment House Form Sacred Space Village Structure Origin Myth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Setha M. Low
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School and University CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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