Be It Ever So Humble…Sociologists Research “Sense of Place” among Atlanta Public Housing Residents

Check out recent research by GSU Sociology Professors Griff Tester, Erin Ruel, Donald Reitzes, Deidre Oakley, and GSU graduate student Angela Anderson:

Tester, G., Ruel, E., Anderson, A., Reitzes, D., & Oakley, D. (2011). Sense of place among Atlanta public housing residents. Journal Of Urban Health: Bulletin Of The New York Academy Of Medicine, 88(3), 436-453.

cc woodleywonderworks (flickr)

This research, part of the GSU Urban Health Initiative, draws from surveys with 290 Atlanta residents slated for relocation following the demolition of Atlanta public housing.  Examining “sense of place, consisting of both community and place attachment,” they found that, “41% of the residents express place attachment, and a large percentage express some level of community attachment, though residents of senior public housing are far more attached than residents of family public housing,” and that positive and negative neighborhood characteristics were differentially associated with sense of place.  They concluded that:

“Embodied in current public housing relocation initiatives is a real sense of loss
among the residents. Policy makers may also want to consider the possibilities of
drawing upon residents’ sense of place as a resource for renovating and revitalizing
public housing communities rather than continuing to demolish them and relocating
residents to other neighborhoods.

To learn more about the Urban Health Initiative research, check out some of the reports, presentations, and photos here.

About Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh

Team Leader for Research Data Services and Librarian for Sociology & Data Services
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