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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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.