Place attachment and design features in a rural senior cohousing community

Melissa M. Lies, Mihyun Kang, Rachel K. Sample

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the design features that assist residents of a rural senior cohousing community with enhancement of place attachment. Participants for this study were recruited through purposive sampling. A total of 10 older adults, ages 60s to 80s, had resided for 6 months or more at a Midwestern senior cohousing community established in 2012. Data was collected through visual research methods, photo-elicitation, and interviews. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed and organized with the computer software NVIVO. Content analysis revealed themes that were categorized using the five dimensions of place attachment (place dependence, place identity, friend bonding, family bonding, and nature bonding). The findings showed that friend bonding and nature bonding were the most dominant dimensions, while family bonding was the least. Friend bonding was promoted with design features for spontaneous, proposed, and organized interaction. Nature bonding was enhanced by design features that allow connection and interaction with nature. Design features related to autonomy and transition were related to place dependence. Design features that enable personalization and connection to the past helped place identity. Family bonding was connected to policies that allow for family, rather than to the physical environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-63
Number of pages23
JournalHousing and Society
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 4 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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