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Sense of Place

My Mountain, Your Mountain, Our Mountain


This collection showcases the extensive research in integrating emotional and sensory experiences in sense of place mapping research methods. My study area of Mount Hood National Forest was chosen because the mountain and forest are near and dear to my heart. I gained interest in understanding why others hold similar feelings about this beautiful place and how we can use this knowledge in preservation, restoration, and stewardship planning. 

Many of us experience strong emotions being in the presence of a mountain’s grandness, or the feel soothed by the meditative qualities of a babbling stream. But how are these emotional connections to landscapes described in terms of sense of place or values, and how can they be used to convey the importance of place? Sense of place (SOP) mapping is an approach to the understanding of the complex ways in which humans are connected to landscapes and provides essential information for effective land stewardship and management. In the Pacific Northwest, Mount Hood National Forest provides a landscape for visitors and local residents to engage in many activities, establish a living from forest resources, and attach meaning to places of importance. It is often difficult to understand and analyze these important individual experiences that create a sense of place because of the intimate details that contribute to developing that importance. Values mapping research tends to focus on activities that are associated with values and often fails to capture participants' true sense of place and values regardless of activities conducted at a place of importance. This poster presents the preliminary analysis results of sense of place mapping paired with participant interviews to understand individual meanings and interpretations of places of importance identified within the Mt. Hood National Forest. Key factors of this research focused on how correlations between senses experienced, emotions evoked, landscape types and values associated with places of importance could improve future values mapping research.


Development of an interactive web map survey allowed participants to mark up to 5 places of importance within the forest and answer questions about each location pertaining to senses and emotions experienced, activities engaged in, and why they value this place. Participatory web mapping generates local knowledge and experience, which contributes to an approach toward integrated community planning. 

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