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Architectural identity and place attachment in historic neighbourhoods: an empirical study in Sanandaj, Iran

Sharareh Farhad (Department of Architecture, Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sari, Iran)
Mohammad Javad Maghsoodi Tilaki (School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia)
Massoomeh Hedayati Marzbali (School of Housing, Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 4 September 2020

Issue publication date: 28 May 2021




Environmental and functional situations of neighbourhoods can play a significant role in maintaining neighbourhoods’ socio-economic activities and residents’ place attachment. This study aims to examine the relationship between architectural identity components (i.e. symbol, ornament and old pattern) and place attachment in Aghazaman neighbourhood as a well-known historic neighbourhood in Sanandaj, Iran.


The study is quantitative in nature and a questionnaire survey was conducted on a sample of 300 respondents to assess the relationships between the architectural identity components and place attachment.


The findings indicate a significant and positive relationship between architectural identity and place attachment, indicating that higher architectural identity is associated with high perceptions of place attachment amongst residents. The results further indicate that the most influencing factor in shaping architectural identity is old pattern, followed by ornaments and symbols.

Social implications

As place attachment is a strong incentive to maintain social interactions in neighbourhoods and to create a sense of attachment towards the residential environment, attention must be paid to the relationships amongst people, place, meaning and identity.


The architectural elements such as motifs and columns give identity to the image of historic neighbourhoods. The use of architectural identity components can help in decision making of planners and practitioners of urban neighbourhoods. The study was designed to develop a guideline so that future developments in Iran could be monitored to sustain strong neighbourhood attachment.



This article is based on Sherareh Farhad’s doctoral dissertation entitled “Explanation of components constructing architectural identity to enhance the sense of place attachment in the traditional neighborhoods”, which is being carried out under the supervision of Dr Mohammad Javad Maghsoodi Tilaki and advisement of Dr Masoomeh Hedayati Marzbali in Sari Islamic Azad University, Iran.


Farhad, S., Maghsoodi Tilaki, M.J. and Hedayati Marzbali, M. (2021), "Architectural identity and place attachment in historic neighbourhoods: an empirical study in Sanandaj, Iran", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 148-162.



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