The effects of shopping environments on place identity
Swiatek-Odien, Melissa A.
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The phenomenon of place is far more than a physical location. Embodied in place is the collection of experiences within that location ranging from physical sensations, inner emotions, personal memories, histories and even new imaginings. Place describes our connection to the world around us from awe-inspiring natural landscapes and ancient ruins to the everyday environment where we live, work, eat, shop, play and call home. This thesis will explore how everyday shopping environments are capable of influencing the place experience of a mid-sized American city through the various landscape forms and activities which they encourage and how these shape personal experience and perception. A description of four historically popular shopping environments and their corresponding experiences on the sensory, social and psychological levels will illustrate the capability of shopping environments to influence place identity. A discussion of the relationship between place identity and personal identity will emphasize the importance of connectivity between all elements in our environment even seemingly mundane details such as where we shop. Finally an examination of the attitudinal and corresponding environmental changes in popular shopping habits over time will provide insight to the temporal nature of place identity and the continual desire to create meaningful places.