Maria Lewicka: Psychologia miejsca - a comprehensive study of human-place relationships
Maria Lewicka is a social and environmental psychologist who has devoted her academic career to exploring the complex and multifaceted phenomena of human-place relationships. In her book Psychologia miejsca (Psychology of place), published in 2012, she offers a comprehensive overview of the theoretical and empirical research on place attachment, place identity, place memory, and other aspects of how people relate to their physical surroundings.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part provides a historical and conceptual background for the study of place, tracing the origins and development of different approaches and perspectives in environmental psychology, human geography, sociology, and anthropology. The second part reviews the empirical evidence on the antecedents, consequences, and forms of human-place relationships, focusing on the individual, social, and cultural factors that shape people's bonds with places. The third part discusses the implications and applications of place research for various domains of practice, such as urban planning, community development, environmental education, and social policy.
Lewicka's book is a valuable contribution to the field of environmental psychology and related disciplines. It synthesizes a vast amount of literature and offers a critical and integrative analysis of the current state of knowledge on place phenomena. It also identifies the gaps and challenges for future research and practice. The book is written in a clear and engaging style, with numerous examples and illustrations from different contexts and cultures. It is intended for students, researchers, practitioners, and anyone interested in learning more about the psychology of place.
The psychology of place is not only relevant for academic inquiry, but also for practical applications in various domains of human activity. Lewicka's book offers several examples of how place research can inform and inspire interventions that aim to enhance people's well-being, sense of belonging, civic engagement, and environmental stewardship. Some of these examples are:
Designing and managing public spaces that foster social interaction, cultural diversity, and community identity.
Creating and preserving places of historical and cultural significance that support collective memory and intergenerational transmission of values.
Empowering and involving local residents in participatory planning and decision-making processes that affect their places.
Developing and implementing place-based education programs that enhance students' environmental awareness, place attachment, and pro-environmental behavior.
Supporting and facilitating place mobility and adaptation for people who migrate or relocate due to various reasons, such as economic opportunities, political conflicts, or natural disasters.
Lewicka's book is a must-read for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the psychology of place and its implications for creating more livable and sustainable places for people.