Place Attachment of Residents to Green Infrastructure Network in Small Town

PLACE ATTACHMENT OF RESIDENTS TO GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE NETWORK IN SMALL TOWN
Mazlina Mansor and Ismail Said
Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia mazlina.mansor@gmail.com ABSTRACT: This study explores attachment of town residents towards green infrastructure network in Taiping, an old town in Central Peninsular Malaysia. Green infrastructure is greenery and open spaces linked by streets, waterways and drainage ways around and between urban areas, at all spatial scales. In Taiping, the green infrastructure network consists of the Lake Gardens (town park), street planting, open spaces of public buildings, pocket spaces between shop-houses, school playfields, residential open space, home gardens, and river corridors. Six dimensions of place attachment including familiarity, favourite place, meaningful place, emotional response to physical attributes, concern and satisfaction for green spaces are elicited from 335 residents using survey questionnaire. The survey was conducted in neighbourhood areas, town centre, government institution and the Lake Gardens. The findings suggest that a majority of residents perceived strong attachment to the green infrastructure of the town. Majority of the residents valued their town park (91%) and hill sites (68%) as their favourite places for leisure and physical activities that afford them positive emotional feelings including relaxation, solitude and relieving stress. They also evaluated the open spaces are places for active functioning including sports and physical exercises as well as passive performances such as site seeing, strolling and resting. Diversity, coherence and naturalness of the green spaces generated the attachment to the town. An array of green spaces including size, types and mixtures of elements distributed in town allows experiential choice that affords physical, cognitive and social wellbeing. Keywords: Green infrastructure, Place attachment, Perception and feeling, Small town

1.

INTRODUCTION

Some environments are valued by people in which personal bond may develop between people and place (Tuan, 1980; Sime, 1995; William and Steward, 1998). The bonding of people to places is termed as ‘place attachment’ (Altman and Low, 1992). Place attachment has also been described by researchers using concepts or dimensions of place bonding (Hammit et al., 2006), sense of place (Tuan, 1977), community attachment (Kasarda and Janowitz, 1974; Kim and Kaplan, 2004), place identity (Proshansky, 1978; Proshansky et al., 1983) and place dependence (Stokol and Shumaker, 1981). Shumaker and Taylor (1983) defined place attachment as the person-place bond that evolves from specifiable conditions of place and characteristics of people. It is a strong emotional tie, temporary or long lasting between a person and a particular physical location (Sime, 1995). The emotional link formed by an individual to a physical site has been given meaning through interaction. Hence, place attachment embraces the affective and emotional feelings of people that are accompanied by cognition (thought, knowledge and belief) and practice through action and behavior in which it is emphasized through people’s interaction with the settings. In

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sums, place attachment often emerges as individuals get to know the setting and endow it with value (Relph, 1976; Tuan, 1980). Initially, researches on place attachment were mainly concentrated to home and neighbourhood settings (Ahlbrandt, 1984; Rivlin, 1987; Lalli, 1992; Cooper-Marcus, 1995; Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Hidalgo and Hernandez, 2001; Brown, et al., 2003). Yet, it is found that investigations on place attachment had varied considerably in terms of the nature of the place or spatial context. It is found that place attachment studies have expanded to nature and wilderness experiences (Steel 2000; Vitterso et al., 2001), public space (Low, 2000) and recreational place (Hammit et al., 2006). The review of place attachment researches has revealed several key dimensions. Traditionally, two important measures for place attachment that are conceptualized were place identity by Proshansky et al. (1983) and place dependence by Stokol and Shumaker (1981) which are commonly used by many researchers in their study (e.g. Williams and Roggenbuck, 1989; William and Vaske, 2003). However, recent conceptual models on place attachment have added to the current body of knowledge by developing additional attachment dimensions such as place familiarity and belongingness (Hammit et al., 2006) and rootedness (Tuan, 1983). The paper explores six important dimensions to elucidate people and green infrastructure attachment phenomena: place familiarity, favourite and meaningful place, emotional feeling towards physical attributes of green spaces, concern over the green infrastructure and satisfaction. The research defines green infrastructure as greenery and open spaces linked by streets, waterways and drainage ways around and between urban areas, at all spatial scales (Tzoulas et al., 2007). The experience using the green infrastructure network includes engagement in park, open space, incidental spaces, ‘loose-fit’ places (Dovey et al. (2002), residual spaces (Davidson, 1999) and streets (Ward Thompson, 2002). Place familiarity means greater knowledge of the locale (Hammit et al., 2006). It involves pleasant memories, cognitions, and environmental images that result from acquaintances and remembrances associate with recreational places, and which serve as the initial stages of the humanto-place coupling process (Robert, 1996). Studies in residential place attachment suggest that familiarity in terms of length of residence and intensity of use of neighborhood facilities are positively associated with place attachment (Ahlbrandt, 1984; Brown et al., 2003; Lalli, 1992). Therefore, familiarity for the study is measured in terms of regularity of visit of urban residents to green space and their length of residency in the town. As stated by researchers (e.g. Commons, 1991; Gerwitz, 1991), place attachment develops over time and stages of people–place intentions and is related to past use experience with a place (Low and Altman, 1992). Length of residence in a community can increase familiarity in spatial knowledge and emotional domains of a place (Appleyard, 1969). Similarly, regularity of visit to green spaces increase residents familiarity and pleasant memories of leisure and physical activities, thus stimulate attachment to the green spaces. Studies of place attachment have also focused on people’s use of particular places for self and emotion regulation (e.g. Korpela and Hartig, 1996). This is a favorite place, which appears to afford restorative experiences that aid emotion- and self-regulation processes. For example, studies indicated that favourite place is visited to relax, calm down and clear minds (Korpela, 1991). It is often described as aesthetically engaging and afforded escape from social pressures with concomitant freedom of expression and control (Korpela et al., 2001). The attachment to this place usually develops over time hence, familiarity is important to nurture favourite place of people. When people are familiar towards a particular place, they often develop and affective-memory and memoryachievement familiarity that is a feeling of sense of belonging, identity, dependence or even 326

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possessiveness towards places. To some extent, the places may become ‘their place’, a favourite place’ or the ‘only place’ for various types of leisure-recreation pursuits (Korpela et al., 2001). Positive emotional feeling towards green infrastructure environment and concern over them indicate residents develop a sense of belonging towards their place and to community. Sense of belonging is achieved when one has a positive feeling and behavior to maintain or enhance a locale (Hammit et al., 2006). In the study, it is measured based on the perceptions and preferences of residents towards physical attributes of green infrastructure. As stated by Walker and Ryan (2008), reviewing landscape preference research may add to better understanding of place attachment. Preference, as an expression of human need and desire, has a strong influence on a person’s attitudes toward their environment. People’s preference for a landscape is grounded in their ability to understand the landscape, and the level of complexity and engagement that the landscape offers (Kaplan et al., 1998), as well as the familiarity of the landscape or their experiences of similar landscapes (Gerson et al., 1977). Satisfaction plays significant role in attachment to a place, where increase in satisfaction and preference typically influence levels of attachment. Studies of place attachment towards community have found that when local residents find their homes and community satisfactorily, they are likely to experience strong community attachment (Fried, 1982; Cook, 1988; Zaff and Devlin, 1998). Comparably, attachment to green space is depended upon one’s satisfaction towards the physical attributes that green space has to offer. Quality of physical environments contributes to attachment of people. According to Relph, (1976), Branderburg and Carrol (1995) and Stedman (2003a), the attachment formed with places may involve three most dominant factors: (a) characteristics of the physical environment, (b) human use and experience with the environment and, (c) social, psychological and cultural interpretations and constructed meanings of people-place interactions. Translating this to the context of green infrastructure, the attachment of residents with green spaces in towns and cities sparks from participation of urban residents with physical and leisure activities. The quality of physical properties and attributes of the green infrastructure including diversity of spaces, coherence and naturalness then enriches the experiences of users. The experience evokes positive cognitions, thus, encouraging positive meaning towards the spaces. These meanings are expressed from residents’ preference for various types of space for their outdoor activities. In other words, landscape preference affects place attachment and is influenced by experience and familiarity (Ryan, 1997). Diversity of spaces allows more outdoor experiential choices for urban residents, resulting in regular contact with various green spaces. The coherence of environment including legibility of places and good connectivity allow accessibility and assist wayfinding and orientation of residents. Readability of its environments, for example, noticeable landmarks and routes that connect to green areas offer a strong knowledge base for familiarity of residents to access and participate in activities. Naturalness qualities of the green spaces such as the presence of lush greenery and water element attract residents to participate regularly in outdoor spaces. The aesthetically pleasing environment may evoke pleasant memories and give character to the town, hence enhance familiarity of residents. Therefore, the qualities on physical characteristics may result in positive interpretation and meaning to the places that residents visit. With time, they develop an attachment for the places.

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2.

AIM AND OBJECTIVES

The research utilizes exploratory approach by analyzing perceptions towards green infrastructure held by residents of a small old town of Taiping located in central Peninsular Malaysia. It takes stride to explore the behavioural responses of residents change by experiencing a range of green spaces, hence shaping their attachment to the green spaces of the town. The properties and attributes of the green infrastructure of the town including diversity, coherence, naturalness and the attributes of the environment (e.g. cleanliness, safety, and facility) play significant roles for the sense of attachment. In particular, the survey was set to answer three main questions: (a) Are residents familiar with the range of green infrastructure land uses in Taiping town? b) What are residents’ perceptions and feelings towards the green spaces that lead to familiarity and bonding to the green spaces? (c) What are the causal roles between the properties and attributes of green infrastructure and attachment of residents towards the green spaces that exist in the town? 3. 3.1 METHOD AND DESIGN Study Area

Taiping with population of around 145,000 people is located in the district of Larut Matang that covers 186 km² (Taiping Municipal Council, 2004). Within the peripheral area lie other small provinces including Kamunting, Tupai and Assam Kumbang. It was the first town established by the British in 1874 and developed rapidly in the 19th century after tin was discovered. Its landscape was much modified by the tin mining activities, leaving many lakes and sand tailings, which was turn into a park some 120 years ago. Taiping is composed of residential land, low-density commercial area and a significant amount of green spaces. Green infrastructure in Taiping town consists of the Lake Gardens as town park, green and open spaces of institutional and government buildings, hills landscape, pocket spaces in town, street landscape, residential open spaces and home garden and river corridor. The Lake Gardens is a large town park near to the town centre with glorious large rain trees and lakes, recreational amenities and zoo covers 84 hectare of land. There are 22 pocket spaces between shop houses such as Laman Pasar in the town centre. Street landscape consisting of trees and shrubs connects places within commercial areas in town, to major recreational spaces and to the residential neighbourhoods. For example, major roads of Taming Sari Road and Kota Road connect town centre with the Lake Gardens and Maharaja Lela Road and Muzium Road connect to the residential neighborhoods. However, only 26% of the road system in Taiping is considerably green. The composition of green infrastructure extends to the residential neighbourhoods with community parks, playgrounds and home gardens, which make up 13% of green area of the town (Ismail and Mazlina, 2007). The green spaces exist in apparently peaceful harmony with a range of urban charms including old colonial public, institutional and commercial buildings defined by Larut Hill as a backdrop. The town is the wettest place in Peninsular Malaysia; therefore, the environment is relatively cool and refreshing. Figure 1 illustrates the distributions of green and pocket spaces in Taiping town and nearby areas.

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Figure 1: Distribution of green and pocket spaces in Taiping
Source: (Ismail and Mazlina, 2007)

3.2

Instrument

The research uses survey questionnaire to measure behavioural responses of residents from contact and engagement with green spaces in the town. The responses include perception, feeling and preference of activities, the roles of physical properties and attributes of green infrastructure and sense of attachment to a range of green infrastructure land uses in Taiping. Questionnaire surveys were used in many studies to explore environmental attitudes such as urban growth (e.g. Henwood and Pidgeon, 2001) and quality of life (e.g. Bonaiuto et al., 2003). Surveys are widely used as means of making descriptive assertions about preferences and attitudes of the sample of a population (Akbar et al., 2003). A questionnaire has the advantage of reaching a reasonable representative group of people in a short period, providing a means to generate data that can be quantified and analyzed, hence giving opportunity to assess various issues from the view of people with different social, economical and geographical background (Akbar et al., 2003; Oppenheim, 1992). The items in the survey were presented in categorical scale, positive five-point Likert scale and adjective rating scale. For example, categorical scales were used to obtain socio-demographic

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information and responses on residents’ feelings on the uses and activities in the green spaces. Likert scale is a response from 5-strongly agree to 1-strongly disagree and a 3-neutral option. The neutral option ensured that respondents are able to provide honest answers to the items (Balram and Dragiæeviæ, 2005). Responses to a set of thirteen adjective rating were included to represent the attributes of various types of green infrastructure land uses in Taiping that town residents perceived. The questionnaire was organized into two sections. The first section is socio-demographic information of residents that includes items such as age, gender, ethnicity and length of residency. Section 2 is responses on dimensions of attachment of residents using multiple response scale, Likert scale and bipolar adjective rating scale. The section contained sub-sections based on the dimensions measured for the study: familiarity, favourite and meaningful place, emotional response to properties and attributes of green infrastructure and satisfaction and concern towards the green spaces. 3.3 Administration and Respondents

Data was collected from 335 residents living in Taiping town, Kamunting, Tupai and Assam Kumbang using purposive sampling method. This method is suitable, in which the unit of analysis fulfilled the criteria as residents who use Taiping town regularly. This means, even though some of the residents live in the peripheral areas such as in Kamunting, Tupai and Assam Kumbang, they consider Taiping town as their main town for daily outdoor activities. Hence, they mostly participated in outdoor activities and green spaces of the town. Residents were selected from two types of neighbourhood housing areas (terrace housing and village-like neighbourhood), town centre and nearby green spaces. A variation of the drop-off method (Kamarul Zaman, 2007) was used for on-site survey questionnaire administration. The method was carried in two ways; drop-off door to door in the neighbourhoods and government office and public space intercept in town centre and green spaces. Twelve neighbourhoods consisted of terraced housing types and village like neighbourhood were identified for the survey drop-off method. In the morning, the researchers distributed the survey questionnaires. The researchers explained the survey briefly to respondents and then leave it for them to complete at their leisure. The deadline was set up, upon which the researcher returned and collected the questionnaires in the afternoon. This method was administered for two days during the weekend when residents were most likely to be at home. Another drop-off method was a public space intercept, where the questionnaires were distributed to residents in town centre such as passers-by, business owners and park users in the Lake Gardens and in town. The questionnaires were explained either to individual or groups of respondents approached in these areas and they filled the surveys in the presence of the researcher. 3.4 Analysis

To describe the data, descriptive statistics such as percentage and cross tabulation analyses were carried out. This is applicable for exploratory study because it concerns with summarizing a sample (Sulaiman, 2004) and aim at obtaining some degree of simplification. Accordingly, descriptive statistics and frequencies were used in many studies involving public opinion (Akbar et al., 2003). The analyses were carried out to discern the uses of green spaces and contributions of the physical properties and attributes of the green spaces to residents’ feeling of attachment.

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4. 4.1

RESULTS Socio-demographic Information

Socio-demographic information identified that fifty two percent (52%) of respondents are from neighbourhoods. 23% of the respondents in town centre were the officers of Taiping Municipal Council, town users and business owners and 25% were park users in the Lake Gardens. Demographically, the samples were evenly divided between male and female with 57% and 43% respectively. Malay represents the ethnic majority of the respondents. As can be seen in Table 1, the largest percentage of respondents (82%) was adults and majority of them have resided in Taiping between 0.5 to 30 years suggesting that they are familiar with the physical properties and attributes of the green spaces of the town.
Table 1: Socio-demographic information of town residents Survey item Gender Ethnicity Levels Male Female Malay Chinese Indian Others Adolescent (12-18 yrs old) Adult (19-55 yrs) older adult & elderly (>55yrs) 1-10 years 11-30 31-50 > 50 years Per cent n = 335 57% 43% 69% 19% 10% 1.5% 8% 86% 6% 30% 52% 16% 2%

Age group

Year of residence

4.2

Familiarity from Regularity of Visit to Green Space

The first research question is on familiarity of residents on the range of green infrastructure. In the study, familiarity is measured in terms of regularity of visits to green spaces and length of residency in the town. These dimensions are believed to determine familiarity of residents, hence, was anticipated to imbue attachment to an array of green spaces available in the town. It is found that the largest percentage (77%) of residents visit various green spaces available in Taiping town at least once in two weeks as shown in Table 2. This shows the intensity of use of the green infrastructure is high and predicts that residents are familiar with their green spaces. Specifically, to identify the level of familiarity of residents towards different types of green infrastructure, eight green infrastructure land uses were proposed in the questionnaire. The largest percentage of residents indicated that they visited the Lake Gardens (91%) and the hill sites (68%) as shown by results in Figure 2, suggesting that residents are more familiar with spaces that have 331

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distinctive physical properties and attributes such as the size and naturalness. On the other hand, preferences for pocket spaces (11%) and streets (11%) in towns are low suggesting that residents hardly recognized the spaces potential for outdoor activities.
Table 2: Regularity of visit to green space Levels Twice per week Once a week Once fortnightly Once a month Other Percent n = 335 24% 31% 22% 19% 4%

Figure 2: Types of green infrastructure that residents visit
Source: (Mazlina, 2008)

4.3

Familiarity from Length of Residence

To explore the relationship between two variables, crosstabulation is used between regularity of visit to green space (dependent variable) and length of residency (independent variable) in Taiping town. It explores whether length of stay of residence in Taiping affect intensity of use of green spaces in the town. As shown in Table 3, finding indicates that there is no significant association between the two variables. In other words, it signifies that residents regularly used green space regardless whether they are new to the town or has been in Taiping for most of their lives.

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Table 3: Crosstabulation result between length of residence and regularity of visit Length of residence/Regularity of visit 1-10 years 11-30 years 31 to 50 years >50 years Percent n = 335 77% 82% 76% 100%

4.4

Favourite and Meaningful Place

Second research question focused on residents’ perception and feelings towards the green spaces that lead to familiarity and attachment. It revealed their favourite place and their emotional responses towards the attributes of the green infrastructure. Familiarity leads to regular activities in the green spaces where residents obtain diverse experiences. Hence, residents may have developed favourite place for visit. Findings in Table 4 suggested residents of the town prefer outdoor activities in green spaces (75%). A larger percentage of residents (69%) pointed out that green spaces are among their favourite places for visit during leisure time. The reasons are that the spaces can offer relaxation and relief from stress (52%) and as places to perform physical activity (53%). On the other hands, a favourite place does not need to be a place that enable them to have contact with other people, socialize and feel safe and secure as shown in low responses for the items proposed in the survey. Some of the favourite places are meaningful to residents as suggested from result in Table 4 (53%). In addition, exploration of relationships between favourite place and age group of residents found that there is no significant association between the two dimensions as shown in Table 5.This suggests that all residents have their own favourite place to be and this is seems to be related with activities and places that suit the needs of all ages.
Table 4: Favourite place Survey item I prefer green infrastructure than any other type of space for outdoor activity Green infrastructure is my favourite place Green spaces is a meaningful place for me Reasons of favourite place: For physical activity To relax and relief stress To interact with family and friends Safe and secure To interact with neighbour/other residents 53% 52% 46% 25% 14% Per cent n = 335 75% 69% 53%

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Table 5: Crosstabulation result between favourite place and age group Age group/Favourite place Adolescent (12-18 years old) Young adult (19-39 years old) Adult (40-55 years old) Older adult and elderly (> years old) Agreement Per cent n = 335 67% 65% 78% 68%

4.5

Satisfaction and Concern on Green Spaces

The questions for this section intended to explore residents’ satisfaction and their concern for green infrastructure in the town using Likert scale. The overall responses found to be very positive. Generally, a substantial percentage of residents satisfied with green infrastructure (68%) as seen in Table 6. Residents voted that they are satisfied with the green spaces due to their physical properties and attributes (72%). This means properties and attributes of green infrastructure including diversity, naturalness and coherence contributes to satisfaction of residents towards the green infrastructure. The satisfaction is a key contributor to sense of attachment of residents.
Table 6: Satisfaction and residents’ concern on green infrastructure Per cent on agreement n = 335 maximum = 5, min = 1 68% 72% 65% 75% 82%

Survey item I am satisfied with green infrastructure in Taiping I am satisfied with green infrastructure because of their physical properties and attributes. Green infrastructure offers suitable activity for residents’ lifestyle I care and concern about the green spaces I feel the green spaces should be protected and conserve

4.6

Response on Properties and Attributes of Green Infrastructure

Final research questions focused on exploration of the causal roles between the properties and attributes of green infrastructure and attachment of residents towards the green spaces. Table 7 shows results on assessment of perceptions and feelings for green infrastructure. Thirteen adjectives on physical attributes of the green infrastructure were selected from literatures for identifying emotional feeling of residents towards the green spaces. The responses would interpret their sense of attachment to the spaces. Overall, the responses were highly positive in which most of the attributes measured obtained high mean ratings except for item on ‘facilities’ (mean 3.69). Four specific green infrastructure land uses were also chosen to evaluate the difference in attachment towards different types of green spaces. They are the Lake Gardens, hill sites, pocket spaces in town and open space and home gardens of neighbourhood. As depicted in Figure 3, findings are in

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favour of the Lake Gardens as compared to other green infrastructure land uses. The lowest score is for pocket spaces in town as can be seen in low mean score in Figure 3.
Table 7: Perceptions and feelings towards green infrastructure Bipolar adjective rating scale PROPERTIES 1) Spacious - crowded 2) Beautiful - ugly 3) Variety - monotonous 4) Clean - dirty 5) Good facility –vandalism/graffiti ATTRIBUTES 6) Calm - stressful 7) Fond of it-dislike it 8) Exciting - boring 9) Lively - abandoned 10) Comfortable - uncomfortable 11) Safe - fear /anxiety 12) Familiar - strange 13) Inspiring - unimaginative Mean of agreement n = 335 max = 5; min = 1 4.34 4.30 4.05 3.87 3.69 4.41 4.40 4.30 4.04 4.04 4.00 3.97 3.94

Figure 3: Comparative mean of residents’ feelings towards specific places

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5.

DISCUSSION

The primary research question for the study is on familiarity of residents towards the range of green spaces of the town. Data from the survey has documented various age groups of residents. A number of them have been living in Taiping for more than ten years. Most of residents regularly used the spaces regardless of whether they are new to the town or they have been in Taiping for most of their lives. Hence, local residents are familiar with all types of green infrastructure land uses proposed in the survey. The familiarity seems contributed by the diversity of green infrastructure as suggested by findings in Figure 2. For examples, the size of the Lake Gardens and the outstanding natural features of Larut Hill permit various leisure and recreational activities. Inside the Lake Gardens, various smaller spaces exist for residents to participate in any desired activities, be it physical or social activities. Larut Hill offers leisure and recreational activities at the waterfall of the Burmese Pool. The scenic beauty of the town’s environment looking from the top of the hill is aesthetically pleasing for residents to immerse. In addition, the significance difference on residents’ preference between the Lake Gardens and the green spaces in town centre strongly influenced by the properties and attributes of its spaces. In other words, diversity of spaces and activities in the pocket spaces is minimal and affect uses and regular contact of residents with the spaces. The lack of coherence in terms of the existence of noticeable landmarks discourages legibility to the places. Furthermore, connectivity of the spaces with another may not be physically and visually easy and diminishes accessibility and affecting residents’ usage of the spaces, thus, reducing familiarity. The conditions impinged by the lack of naturalness quality in the pocket spaces such as the existence of water and greenery, which found to shape preference of people towards their environment. As suggested by many studies, length of stay in a place can positively affected place attachment for the place (e.g. Ahlbrandt, 1984; Lalli, 1992; Brown et al., 2003). However, the result of the survey found to be in contrast with the researches. The reasons for this difference lie in the context of the town itself. Taiping town is an old colonial town and is relatively a small place. The contents of its environment consist of a town park from colonial period that sits in harmony with the rest of old buildings erected in the same era and other contemporary structures. Most of the greenery especially the Lake Gardens is already established. Therefore, the environment seems very rustic and serene. One can easily feel attach to a small town like Taiping that has already began to shape its own identity rather than to a large town or city. Feldman (1990) posited that people identify with a neighbourhood, suburb or small town, rather than with a particular place or town. They were likely to give these places higher ratings of desirability for settlement. Residents of Taiping perceived the green spaces as their favourite place that afford residents relaxation and relief from stress and as places for them to perform physical activity. The favourite place does not need to be a place to socializing with other residents or feel safe and secure. Thus, the findings are parallel with studies by Korpela (1991), Korpela et al. (2001) and Korpela and Hartig (1996) who emphasized that favourite place is place for leisure and recreational pursuits where one can primarily achieve self and emotion regulation and afford restorative experience from demanding everyday activities. Result also shows that there is no significant association between age group and favourite place. Finding in the study are in accord with many researches that demonstrate that there are many aspects of outdoor environments and green spaces that are attractive to people, regardless of age (Ward Thompson, 2007). It suggests that adolescents use green space because it supports their social life: as a place to be comfortable with friends and place to be one self. In other 336

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words, green spaces offer them attractive places to ‘hang out’, hence, develop a sense of selfidentity and independence. As for older adults, green spaces offer them a better quality of life: active social life, good health and good neighbouring environments. This means green space is a place for them to enjoy fresh air, walking and enjoying scenery, hence, feeling healthy. In addition, they can meet other people, therefore, maintaining social networks and be active socially. Familiarity with the green spaces has developed affective-memory and memory-achievement of residents – among others, dependency and possessiveness towards the places. Therefore, they feel that certain places are meaningful to them. This is because these places have reminded them of their childhood memories or memories of being with loved ones and doing activities together. Results have also suggested that residents respond positively towards maintaining the environment as it is and conserving the green spaces because it has value to individual and community in the town. The feelings of concern and effort to conserve the green spaces by residents indicate they have developed a sense of belonging and attachment to the green spaces as proposed by Hammit et al. (2006). The causal roles between the properties and attributes of green infrastructure and attachment of residents towards the green spaces that exist in the town explored from responses on the attributes of the green infrastructure. From the analysis, the attachment of residents form the emotional responses on various attributes of the green spaces such as fond of the green space, exciting, calm and inspiring place. In other words, the residents prefer most of the attributes of the green infrastructure. These feelings confer satisfaction in which residents are likely to experience strong attachment to the green spaces as suggested by environment behavioral studies such as Fried (1982). 6. SUMMARY AND LIMITATIONS OF STUDY

In summary, the attributes of the green infrastructure such as diversity, coherence of the environment and naturalness quality were affecting the attachment of residents. Feelings of residents towards the attributes were highly positive. They are more familiar with types of green infrastructure that are more diverse in spaces, legible and accessible. A coherent setting offers residents the ability to make sense of their environment. Green spaces with strong visual qualities including landmark, vista and connectivity ease way finding and orientation of residents to access and participate in various features and activities. Trees, grass, flowers and water elements present naturalness quality, hence, provide a sense of meaning and shaping preference and attachment of town residents to the green spaces. Familiarity of the green spaces was not associated with length of residency to the historical background of the town as well as its size. Similarly, residents consisting of all age groups seemed to own their favourite place that suited their particular activities. Therefore, residents seemed to feel satisfy with the green infrastructure environment in Taiping town, suggesting that attachment to the places has already begun to take its shape. Nonetheless, data from the study has several limitations. Firstly, the data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as percentage and cross tabulation due to the exploratory nature of the study. Hence, the study is far from conclusive and primarily useful for guiding future research. It only answers the questions of ‘what’ rather than on ‘how’ and ‘why’, thus, further research should evaluate these findings. Many aspects of abstract experiential qualities on perception, feelings and preferences of residents are unable to be express as in an open-ended interview. Therefore, the

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study did not elicit deeper feelings of residents towards types of green infrastructure. Future investigation on the topic should include open-ended questions to illuminate these issues. REFERENCES
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