Residents’ place identity in a city of becoming

Dr Po-Hsin Lai1, Dr.  Naho Maruyama2, Dr. Kyle Woosnam3, Miss Gabrielle Mcginnis1

1The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia

2Takasaki City University of Economics, Takasaki, Japan

3University of Georgia , Athens, United States


Cities in the world are voluntarily and/or involuntarily becoming incorporated in the process of globalisation to compete for capital investments and consumption of urban amenities. The city of Newcastle in the state of New South Wales, Australia is no exception. While the city has been a subject of anthropogenic change particularly since its colonisation by the European settlers in the early 19th century, the speed of change has been accelerated in the last few years as a result of government determination to move the city toward a smart and vibrant urbanscape. The concept of place identity provides a theoretical lens to inform our examination of how recent investments in urban transformation impacted local key stakeholders. Our purpose is to identify how urban regeneration impacted the elements contributing to four aspects of place identity of local key stakeholders, including distinctiveness, continuity, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Furthermore, how local stakeholders coped in response to challenging changes are also examined. Semi-structured interviews were implemented in 2018 to 28 study participants who engaged with the local landscape on a daily basis, including local residents and business stakeholders. The implications for place making and place engagement in a changing urban landscape will be discussed.


Po-Hsin Lai is a lecturer at the University of Newcastle. She is mostly interested in how anthropogenic induced changes shape person-place relationships (e.g., place identity, place attachment) in rural, urban and protected environments based on quantitative and qualitative methodologies.


The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

IAG Website

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