Sense of Place and Health in Hamilton, Ontario: A Case Study
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The concept of sense of place has received considerable attention by social scientists in recent years. Research has indicated that a person's sense of place is influenced by a number of factors including the built environment, socio-economic status (SES), well-being and health. Relatively few studies have examined sense of place at the neighbourhood level, particularly among communities exhibiting different levels of SES. This article investigates sense of place among three neighbourhood groups in Hamilton, Ontario representing areas of low, mixed and high SES. It analyses data from a 16-point sense of place scale derived from the Hamilton Household Quality of Life Survey carried out in 2010-2011 among 1,002 respondents. The paper found that sense of place was highest among residents of the high SES neighbourhood group as well as among home owners, people residing in single-detached homes, retired residents and those living in their neighbourhood for more than 10 years. From a health perspective, the paper found that a strong association existed between sense of place and self-perceived mental health across the three neighbourhood groups. Furthermore, by way of regression modeling, the paper examined the factors influencing health-related sense of place. Among the sample of respondents, a strong connection was found between housing, particularly home ownership, and high levels of health-related sense of place.
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