Environmental identity and community support for the preservation of open space

Janet K. Swim, Stephanie J. Zawadzki, Jessica L. Cundiff, Bruce Lord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The preservation of open space, preserved or minimally developed stretches of land, is a pressing issue facing many United States’ communities. This paper examines one United States township’s attempts to preserve open space. Most residents surveyed (96 percent) approved of preserving open space, and most homeowners (73 percent) were willing to pay increased property taxes for preservation. Strong identification with nature and the township were associated with willingness to pay higher taxes. Respondents also rated the importance of qualities afforded by preserving open space. Valuing qualities of open spaces related to preserving its present state (e.g., preserving ecology and historical places) and following already established plans mediated relations between residents’ identification with nature and the township and their willingness to pay to preserve open space. Qualities that increase human access to the space (e.g., recreation and accessibility) did not show the same mediational relations. These results suggest that psychological identification with nature and the community play important roles in pro-environmental support. Both the practical and theoretical contributions of this research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-156
Number of pages24
JournalHuman Ecology Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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