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An Exploration of Sense of Place as Informative for Spatial Planning Guidelines: A Case Study of the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, South Africa

Authors: Karen Puren, Ernst Drewes, Vera Roos

Abstract:

This paper explores the sense of place in the Vredefort Dome World Heritage site, South Africa, as an essential input for the formulation of spatial planning proposals for the area. Intangible aspects such as personal and symbolic meanings of sites are currently not integrated in spatial planning in South Africa. This may have a detrimental effect on local inhabitants who have a long history with the site and built up a strong place identity. Involving local inhabitants at an early stage of the planning process and incorporating their attitudes and opinions in future intervention in the area, may also contribute to the acceptance of the legitimacy of future policy. An interdisciplinary and mixed-method research approach was followed in this study in order to identify possible ways to anchor spatial planning proposals in the identity of the place. In essence, the qualitative study revealed that inhabitants reflect a deep and personal relationship with and within the area, which contributes significantly to their sense of emotional security and selfidentity. Results include a strong conservation-orientated attitude with regard to the natural rural character of the site, especially in the inner core.

Keywords: Place identity, Sense of Place, Spatial Planning, Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1084884

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References:


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