ASID: How can designers build a positive environmental association for patients of long-term care health facilities?
The relationship between an individual and his/her environment can manifest into one that has both emotional and physical significance. The emotional connection that an individual establishes with his/her environment is most often expressed through place attachment. Place attachment is defined by Altman and Low as, “the bonding of people to places” and typically develops into a relationship that is both healthy and positive (as cited in Monzo, 2003). But, under some circumstances, the emotional attachment to a place can develop a negative association (Guiliani & Feldman, 1993). For example, feminists express this circumstance through the concept of role overload. Role overload, in this context, describes the situation in which a woman feels a burden to meet the demands of both role as provider and as caregiver, often times requiring a second shift in labor. When a woman must fulfill multiple roles in the family, she may come to view her home as a burden (Anthony, 1997). Furthermore, if a family is plagued by violence or abuse, members of the family may see their home as a trap; the home no longer serves as a place of comfort and sanctuary (Guiliani & Feldman, 1993).
Although the development—either positive or negative—of a connection between an individual and his/her environment is typical, sometimes, a relationship never cultivates at all. Literature on the concept of house versus home demonstrates the range of degree for place attachment. The theory of house versus home suggests that when an individual views their residential environment as a house—a physical unit that is an entity within a greater context, place attachment may not exist. Yet, when an individual views their residential environment as a home—their most cherished place—place attachment is at its strongest (Lawrence, 1987; Moore, 2000).
What can the designer of a long-term health care facility do to help ensure that patient-inhabitants can develop a positive emotional schema with their new home?
Anthony, K. (1997). Bitter homes and gardens: The meanings of home to families of divorce. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 14, 1-19.
Guiliani, M. V., & Feldman, R. (1993). Place attachment in a developmental and cultural context. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 13, 276-274.
Lawrence, R. J. (1987). What makes a house a home? Journal of Environment and Behavior, 19(2), 154-168.
Monzo, L. C. (2003). Beyond house and haven: Toward a revisioning of emotional relationships with places. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 20(3), 207-217.
Moore, J. (2000). Placing home in context. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 20(3), 207- 217.