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A Hidden Dimension in Site Planning: Exploring Affective Experience as Part of Sense of Place on the Farm Kromdraai, Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, South Africa

Authors: K. Puren, H. Coetzee, V. Roos


Uniqueness and distinctiveness of localities (referred to as genius loci or sense of place) are important to ensure people-s identification with their locality. Existing frameworks reveals that the affective dimension of environments is rarely mentioned or explored and limited public participation was used in constructing the frameworks. This research argues that the complexity of sense of place would be recognised and appropriate planning guidelines formulated by exploring and integrating the affective dimension of a site. Aims of the research therefore are to (i) explore relational dimensions between people and a natural rural landscape, (ii) to implement a participatory approach to obtain insight into different relational dimensions, and (ii) to concretise socio-affective relational dimensions into site planning guidelines. A qualitative, interdisciplinary research approach was followed and conducted on the farm Kromdraai, Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site. In essence the first phase of the study reveals various affective responses and projections of personal meanings. The findings in phase 1 informed the second phase, to involve people from various disciplines and different involvement with the area to make visual presentations of appropriate planning and design of the site in order to capture meanings of the interactions between people and their environment. Final site planning and design guidelines were formulated, based on these. This research contributed to provide planners with new possibilities of exploring the dimensions between people and places as well as to develop appropriate methods for participation to obtain insight into the underlying meanings of sites.

Keywords: Affective dimension, Sense of place, spatialplanning, Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site.

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