The Sense of Place Index informs us about peoples’ emotional connection to Puget Sound. Understanding trends and variations in sense of place allows us to evaluate the human effects of restoration strategies. It also informs communication and marketing campaigns, opportunities for public engagement in restoration activities, and overall predictors of engaging in the Puget Sound natural environment.
Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab
The Sense of Place Index is made up of seven questions addressing attachment to the Puget Sound as a place, Puget Sound contributing one’s identity, and feeling pride in being from the Puget Sound. An index is appropriate because each indicator metric is related, but is a unique aspect of the concept.
Data are collected every 2 years via paper survey to a random sample of Puget Sound households. The population chosen for this survey was a clustered random sample of Puget Sound residents, with an initial sample of 9,000. Due to undeliverable addresses, the total sample reached was 8,261 individuals. The response rate was 28 percent for a total of 2,323 individual responses. Results are reported as a mean index value of sense of place for Puget Sound residents.
About 75 percent of survey participants gave their cross-streets, which allowed mapping of human wellbeing metrics at a fine scale. The map above shows the location of each individual respondent. Hot Spot Analysis (Getis-Ord Gi* statistic) was used to visualize clusters of responses that were significantly higher (red, hot spots) and lower (blue, cold spots) relative to those around them.
The mean index response is 5.71, which equates to “agree” with statements about the importance of Puget Sound to the individual's sense of place. In other words, over 70% of Puget Sound residents “agree” or “strongly agree” that Puget Sound plays role in their identity, pride, and attachment.
While on average, all counties agreed with statements about the importance of Puget Sound to the individual's sense of place, respondents from San Juan and Whatcom counties tended to agree more with sense of place questions relative to other respondents around them (red, hot spots in map above). Respondents from Pierce and Snohomish counties tended to agree less with sense of place questions relative to other respondents around them (blue, cold spots).
A linear regression to fit demographic predictors to sense of place was only able to explain 7 percent of the variation in responses. As such, other factors are more important in predicting sense of place than what we measured. That said, a higher sense of place was more likely to be recorded for people who had lived in the region longest, were women, were more rural, had higher education, and were older.
The Puget Sound Partnership believes in the transparency and accessibility of the data used to address progress measures. These data are provided by contributing partners to the Partnership and are made publicly available through the Puget Sound Info site. These data are available on an "as is" basis and the Partnership is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies. Please acknowledge the monitoring program and data source when using these data and obtain permission from the Vital Sign Indicator Reporter to use these data in a publication.