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Empirical evidence of the roles of public spaces and public activities in the promotion of community relations and sense of place in a coastal community

Janmaimool Piyapong (Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand)
Ratanavilaisakul Riruengrong (Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand)
Iemworamate Wipawee (Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand)
Nunsunanon Siriphan (Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand)
Assavarak Passanan (Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 30 May 2019

Issue publication date: 27 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the roles of public spaces in promoting community relations and sense of place in a coastal community, which are both important elements of sustainable community development. This study investigated how activities in public spaces can foster community relations, thereby affecting sense of place, and described how public spaces are used by local residents.

Design/methodology/approach

The Ban-Chaytalae community in the coastal area of Samutsakorn province, Thailand, was selected as a case study. This community has plentiful wetland resources, which provide various benefits for local people, and several areas in the community are used as public spaces for various activities, such as social interactions, recreation, sports, learning activities and cultural and traditional practices. In-depth interviews with residents in the community were conducted, and a questionnaire was administered in the Ban-Chaytalae community during August-December 2017.

Findings

The results of content analysis revealed that several places in the community are utilised as public spaces, including shrines, commercial shops, transportation routes, the coast and spaces between homes. Moreover, the results of path analysis revealed that engaging in cultural, traditional, community development and socialising activities had direct effects on residents’ sense of place and indirect effects on sense of place through community relations.

Research limitations/implications

The study findings implied that land development policy should avoid the deterioration of public places, and furthermore, public spaces should be developed to facilitate activities that can strengthen the active roles of citizens in sustainable community development.

Originality/value

This study provided empirical evidence on the role of public activities and spaces in promoting community relations and sense of place. The study results imply that the quality and quantity of public spaces where cultural, socialising and community development activities are performed should be conserved. Any development that might change these public spaces has the potential to affect people’s ways of living, which, in turn, influences social relationships and sense of place.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by University for Community Research and Services Center: UCOM, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand. The authors would like to acknowledge all community members and community leaders from the Ban-Chaytalae community, Pantaynorasing sub-district, Muang district, Samutsakorn province, Thailand, for the support and participation in this research project.

Citation

Piyapong, J., Riruengrong, R., Wipawee, I., Siriphan, N. and Passanan, A. (2019), "Empirical evidence of the roles of public spaces and public activities in the promotion of community relations and sense of place in a coastal community", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 485-507. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-09-2018-0065

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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