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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
Perceptions of surface facilities of a potential
disposal site and the role of place attachment
Dr. Melanie Mbah, Ryan Kelly, Sina Bremer, Henriette Muxlhanga
safeND-Conference 2023, Berlin, 13.-15.09.2023
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
 role of place attachment in the perception of infrastructure planning
and implementation
 research design
 exemplary empirical findings I: Different place attachments
 exemplary empirical findings II: Different perceptions of a potential
disposal site
 conclusion
Outline
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
 infrastructures are designed to be long-lasting and have impact on (cf.
Abassiharofteh et al. 2022; Isidoro Losada 2021):
 landscapes (i.e., surface facilities of disposal site, transportation, excavation)
 socio-economic practices (i.e., creation or loss of jobs, recreation)
 place = physical environment surrounding a site
 place attachment = value people attach to a place and the factors that
influence it (Mbah/Kuppler i.a.); it is formed by memories, wishes, emotions,
and personal relations (cf. Kienast et al. 2018; Scannel/Gifford 2010; van Veelen/Hagget 2017)
 individual and collective ‘place attachments’ (cf. Altman/Low 1992)
 include socio-emotional bindings to material objects of a place (cf. Brown et al.
2015)
Role of place attachment in the perception of
infrastructure planning and implementation I
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
 personal significance of a place shapes the extent to which
people feel threatened (cf. Manzo/Devine-Wright 2014; Devine-Wright/Batel 2017)
 mining experiences shape place attachment (cf. Llewellyn et al. 2017)
 individuals with a powerful place attachment react more to
spatial change – both positively and negatively (cf. Carrus et al. 2014; Lewicka 2011)
 place attachment seems to be more pronounced, when
governance is perceived as inadequate (Clarke et al. 2018)
 dissent as well as political conflicts can arise due to different
perceptions, expectations, and opportunities for participation,
which can escalate into massive disputes (Gailing/Leibenath 2017)
Role of place attachment in the perception of
infrastructure planning and implementation III
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
• aim: analysis of effects of place
attachment in spatial
transformations to further
develop a place-sensitive long-
term governance approach
• method:
• analysis of place attachment in
three
regions in Germany
• perception of possible
spatial transformations by surface
facilities of a disposal site
 interviews, workshops,
visualization
Research design I
Source: Own depiction.
Fig. 1: Research process
and interviews
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
Structure of the workshop:
 in person (in Kassel)
 38 participants: students of the University of Kassel, participants of
the selected regions, members of the accompanying groups of
TRANSENS
 questionnaire on place attachment and
 visualized models of surface facilities as well as a
 questionnaire on perceptions of surface facilities and
 group discussions on perceptions, requirements and design options
Research design II – Workshop on place
attachment and perceptions of surface facilities
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
Research design III – Impression of visualized
models of surface facilities
• three different landscape
types
• variation of facility façades
• one video with a drive
through the disposal site and
explanation, the others as a
round view from outside the
facility
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
Research design IV – Model of Mihaylov/Perkins
Factors of place attachment Examples of aspects or expressions of factors
Place-based social interactions Working place, living place, shopping, recreation, etc.
Place definition Definition as home with reference to landscape characteristics
Environmental disruption Transformations in terms of infrastructure or socio-economy
(structural change)
Place dependence Dwelling/population density, green spaces, accessibility, etc., so
aspects which refer to the quality of place in comparison to
others
Place identity Norms and traditions going back to e.g., religious affiliation,
cultural traditions, language dialects, etc.
Collective efficacy Participation in associations, clubs or NGOs
Place bonding Family networks, friends
Sense of community Traditional or modern structures of social cohesion in terms of
specific needs to help each other
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
28
20
18
17
15
13
7
14
9
10
11
15
3
3
9
11
10
9
1
2
2
1
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
... I have friends locally
... I can experience nature locally (e.g.
in my free time/everyday life)
… I can meet my daily needs (food,
doctors, etc.) locally
… I experience local community (e.g.
through neighbours, community…
… I have my family nearby
… I see the typical landscape of my place
of residence/region.
fully applicable rather applicable rather not not at all n.A.
I feel “at home” when…
 factors of place attachment like place
bonding, place dependence and social
interactions are important
 landscape and nature are defined as
functional space via it’s potential for
recreation and not as an unalterable
entity
To what extent do the following aspects shape the personal attachment to your place/region?
Exemplary empirical findings I: Different place
attachments
n = 38
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
Exemplary empirical findings I: Different place
attachments
What changes would you find most disruptive?
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Waste disposal facilities (incineration plants for residual waste,
landfills, disposal mines for hazardous/ toxic waste, etc.)
New construction or expansion of commercial/industrial parks
Expansion of transport routes (e.g. roads, railways)
New construction or redensification of residential/office
buildings
Expansion of electricity or heating networks (e.g. overhead or
underground cables)
Expansion of energy generation plants (wind, ground-mounted
PV, biogas plants, etc.)
Clearing of forests
Removal of transport infrastructure
Final repository for nuclear waste
n = 38
 in terms of place attachment, it's
not so much about preserving a
'typical' landscape per se, but
about the functions and qualities
of the environment
 crucial factors are the risks
communicatively and cognitively
associated with a measure and
the intensity and purpose of the
intervention
11
safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
2; 5%
23; 61%
1; 3%
10; 26%
2; 5%
the model with sound
(1) (urban - industrial
area)
the model (2) (rural -
forest landscape - light)
the model (3) (rural -
forest landscape - dark)
the model (4) (rural -
agricultural landscape -
light)
the model (5) (rural -
agricultural landscape -
dark)
n = 38
Exemplary empirical findings II: Different
perceptions of a potential disposal site
Which of the presented visualized models did you find most appealing?
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
Exemplary empirical findings II: Different
perceptions of a potential disposal site
Sentiment regarding the surface facilities:
-4 -3,5 -3 -2,5 -2 -1,5 -1 -0,5 0 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4
distressed (-4) to happy (4)
annoyed (-4) to pleased (4)
dissatisfied (-4) to satisfied (4)
despairing (-4) to hopeful (4)
gloomy (-4) to comfortable (4)
bored (-4) to interested (4)
nervous (-4) to relaxed (4)
excited (-4) to calm (4)
insecure (-4) to secure (4)
sad (-4) to happy (4)
anxious (-4) to fearless (4)
distrustful (-4) to trusting (4)
before group discussion after group discussion
Interpretation (after discussion):
1. less dispersion of answers:
adjustment to moderate positions
(discursively formed collective
understanding)
2. positive development: interest,
satisfaction and comfort in dealing
with the issue has increased
3. negative development:
respondents feel slightly more
nervous, insecure and anxious
4. possible factors: high
complexity, discussion of safety
aspects, gained knowledge of
processes and scientific
approaches, gained trust in
process, developed a collective
understanding
13
safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
 place attachment is more or less strong among the workshop
participants
 landscape is of high importance for the majority, but more in a
functional way (for recreation etc.)
 facilities for waste disposal are perceived as particularly disturbing 
linked with safety issues (fears) and intergenerational justice
 excursion: the analysis of the interviews we conducted suggests that
place attachment may be strongly associated either
 with social factors of place attachment if experiences with transformation
exist,
 or with landscape factors of place attachment if landscape conservation (e.g.,
viticulture) in conjunction with cultural practices are of importance (e.g.,
wineries, restaurants)
Conclusion I
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
 perception of surface facilities is influenced by aesthetics and
understanding of the repository as part of the energy transition
 no fear of negative image change by repository; but a repository is
not understood as a chance for regional development
 visualization is perceived as helpful and discussion about the topic
influenced perception positively
Conclusion II
“It is necessary to give people a chance to make the repository part of their
place.” (Mbah/Kuppler i.a.)
 there is a need for a place-sensitive long-term governance approach
15
safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
 Abassiharofteh, Milad, Jessica Baier, Angelina Göb, Insa Thimm, Andreas Eberth, Falco Knaps, Vilja Larjosto, and Fabiana Zebner, eds. 2022. Spatial transformation – processes, strategies, research
designs. Scientific Reports ARL 19 < https://www.arl-net.de/system/files/media-shop/pdf/fb/fb_019/fb_019_gesamt.pdf> (Accessed February 17, 2023).
 Altman, Irwin, and Setha M. Low. 1992. Place Attachment, Boston, MA: Springer US.
 Brown, Greg, Christopher M. Raymond, Jonathan Corcoran. 2015. Mapping and measuring place attachment. In: Applied Geography 57, 42–53. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.12.011
 Carrus, Giuseppe, Massimiliano Scopelliti, Ferdinando Formara, Mirilia Bonnes, and Marino Bonaiuto. 2014. Place attachment, community identification, and pro-environmental engagement. Place
Attachment Advances in Theory, Methods and Applications ed. Lynne Manzo and Devine-Wright Patrick, 154-164. Oxfordshire: Routledge.
 Chhotray, Vasudha, Gerry Stoker. 2009. Governance Theory and Practice, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
 Clarke, Darren, Conor Murphy, Irene Lorenzoni. 2018. Place attachment, disruption and transformative adaptation. In: Journal of Environmental Psychology (55): 81–89. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2017.12.006
 Devine-Wright, Patrick, and Susana Batel. 2017. My neighbourhood, my country or my planet? The influence of multiple place attachments and climate change concern on social acceptance of energy
infrastructure. Global Environmental Change 47: 110–120. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.08.003
 Gailing, Ludger, and Markus Leibenath. 2017. Political landscapes between manifestations and democracy, identities and power. Landscape Research 42(1): 337–348. doi:
10.1080/01426397.2017.1290225
 Isidoro Losada, Ana María. 2021. Pfadabhängigkeiten in der Endlagerpolitik. In Robuste Langzeit-Governance bei der Endlagersuche, ed. Bettina Brohmann, Achim Brunnengräber, Peter Hocke and Ana
María Isidoro Losada, 137-160. Bielefeld: transcript.
 Kienast, Felix, Matthias Buchecker, and Marcel Hunziker. 2018. Generating meaningful landscapes for globalized mobile societies: pushing an international research agenda. Landscape Ecology 33. doi:
10: 1669–1677.
 Kuppler, Sophie, and Peter Hocke. 2019. The role of long-term planning in nuclear waste governance. Journal of Risk Research 22(11), 1343–1356. doi: 10.1080/13669877.2018.1459791
 Lewicka, Maria. 2011. Place attachment: How far have we come in the last 40 years? Journal of Environmental Psychology 31(3): 207–230. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2010.10.001
 Llewellyn, David H., Melanie Rohse, Rosie Day, and Hamish Fyfe. 2017. Evolving energy landscapes in the South Wales Valleys: Exploring community perception and participation. Energy Policy 108:
818–828. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2017.04.028
 Manzo, Lynne C., and Patrick Devine-Wright. 2014. Place Attachment Advances in Theory, Methods and Applications. Oxfordshire: Routledge.
 Mbah, Melanie, and Sophie Kuppler. i.a. Governing nuclear waste in the long-term: on the role of place. Historical Social Research Journal.
 Mbah, Melanie. 2022. Participation in decision-making processes as a key to a successful long-term governance. In Technical Monitoring and Long-Term Governance of Nuclear Waste, ed. Peter Hocke ,
Sophie Kuppler, Ulrich Smeddinck and Thomas Hassel, 95-110. Baden-Baden: Nomos.
 Mbah, Melanie, and Bettina Brohmann. 2021. Das Lernen in Organisationen: Voraussetzung für Transformationsprozesse und Langzeit-Verfahren. In Robuste Langzeit-Governance bei der Endlagersuche
Soziotechnische Herausforderungen im Umgang mit hochradioaktiven Abfällen, ed. Bettina Brohmann, Achim Brunnengräber, Peter Hocke, and Ana M. Isidoro Losada, 387-412. Bielefeld: transcript.
 Mihaylov, Nikolay, and Douglas D. Perkins. 2014. Community place attachment and its role in social capital development. In Place Attachment: Advances in Theory, Methods and Research, ed. Lynn
Manzo and Patrick Devine-Wright, 61-74. Oxfordshire: Routledge.
 Scannell, Leila, and Robert Gifford. 2010. Defining place attachment: A tripartite organizing framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology 30(1): 1-10.
 Smeddinck, Ulrich, Anne Eckhardt, and Sophie Kuppler. 2022. Toward a repository for high-level radioactive waste: Perspectives and approaches. TaTuP 31(3): 11–17. doi: 10.14512/tatup.31.3.11
 Smeddinck, Ulrich. 2021. Reversibilität in Entscheidungsprozessen: Warum wir ein lernendes Verfahren brauchen. In Robuste Langzeit-Governance bei der Endlagersuche: Soziotechnische
Herausforderungen im Umgang mit hochradioaktiven Abfällen, ed. Bettina Brohmann, Achim Brunnengräber, Peter Hocke, Ana M. Isidoro Losada, 349-360 Bielefeld: transcript.
 Sträter, Oliver. 2022. Bedeutung menschlicher Faktoren für eine dauerhafte Sicherheit von Entsorgungsoptionen. In: Technical Monitoring and Long-Term Governance, ed. Peter Hocke, Sophie Kuppler,
Ulrich Smeddinck, Thomas Hassel, 141-158. Baden-Baden: Nomos.
 van Veelen, Bregje, and Claire Haggett. 2017. Uncommon Ground: The Role of Different Place Attachments in Explaining Community Renewable Energy Projects. Sociologia Ruralis 57(1): 533-554. doi:
10.1111/soru.12128
References
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safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023
Thank you for your attention!

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Perceptions of surface facilities of a potential disposal site and the role of place attachment

  • 1. 1 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 Perceptions of surface facilities of a potential disposal site and the role of place attachment Dr. Melanie Mbah, Ryan Kelly, Sina Bremer, Henriette Muxlhanga safeND-Conference 2023, Berlin, 13.-15.09.2023
  • 2. 2 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023  role of place attachment in the perception of infrastructure planning and implementation  research design  exemplary empirical findings I: Different place attachments  exemplary empirical findings II: Different perceptions of a potential disposal site  conclusion Outline
  • 3. 3 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023  infrastructures are designed to be long-lasting and have impact on (cf. Abassiharofteh et al. 2022; Isidoro Losada 2021):  landscapes (i.e., surface facilities of disposal site, transportation, excavation)  socio-economic practices (i.e., creation or loss of jobs, recreation)  place = physical environment surrounding a site  place attachment = value people attach to a place and the factors that influence it (Mbah/Kuppler i.a.); it is formed by memories, wishes, emotions, and personal relations (cf. Kienast et al. 2018; Scannel/Gifford 2010; van Veelen/Hagget 2017)  individual and collective ‘place attachments’ (cf. Altman/Low 1992)  include socio-emotional bindings to material objects of a place (cf. Brown et al. 2015) Role of place attachment in the perception of infrastructure planning and implementation I
  • 4. 4 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023  personal significance of a place shapes the extent to which people feel threatened (cf. Manzo/Devine-Wright 2014; Devine-Wright/Batel 2017)  mining experiences shape place attachment (cf. Llewellyn et al. 2017)  individuals with a powerful place attachment react more to spatial change – both positively and negatively (cf. Carrus et al. 2014; Lewicka 2011)  place attachment seems to be more pronounced, when governance is perceived as inadequate (Clarke et al. 2018)  dissent as well as political conflicts can arise due to different perceptions, expectations, and opportunities for participation, which can escalate into massive disputes (Gailing/Leibenath 2017) Role of place attachment in the perception of infrastructure planning and implementation III
  • 5. 5 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 • aim: analysis of effects of place attachment in spatial transformations to further develop a place-sensitive long- term governance approach • method: • analysis of place attachment in three regions in Germany • perception of possible spatial transformations by surface facilities of a disposal site  interviews, workshops, visualization Research design I Source: Own depiction. Fig. 1: Research process and interviews
  • 6. 6 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 Structure of the workshop:  in person (in Kassel)  38 participants: students of the University of Kassel, participants of the selected regions, members of the accompanying groups of TRANSENS  questionnaire on place attachment and  visualized models of surface facilities as well as a  questionnaire on perceptions of surface facilities and  group discussions on perceptions, requirements and design options Research design II – Workshop on place attachment and perceptions of surface facilities
  • 7. 7 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 Research design III – Impression of visualized models of surface facilities • three different landscape types • variation of facility façades • one video with a drive through the disposal site and explanation, the others as a round view from outside the facility
  • 8. 8 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 Research design IV – Model of Mihaylov/Perkins Factors of place attachment Examples of aspects or expressions of factors Place-based social interactions Working place, living place, shopping, recreation, etc. Place definition Definition as home with reference to landscape characteristics Environmental disruption Transformations in terms of infrastructure or socio-economy (structural change) Place dependence Dwelling/population density, green spaces, accessibility, etc., so aspects which refer to the quality of place in comparison to others Place identity Norms and traditions going back to e.g., religious affiliation, cultural traditions, language dialects, etc. Collective efficacy Participation in associations, clubs or NGOs Place bonding Family networks, friends Sense of community Traditional or modern structures of social cohesion in terms of specific needs to help each other
  • 9. 9 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 28 20 18 17 15 13 7 14 9 10 11 15 3 3 9 11 10 9 1 2 2 1 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% ... I have friends locally ... I can experience nature locally (e.g. in my free time/everyday life) … I can meet my daily needs (food, doctors, etc.) locally … I experience local community (e.g. through neighbours, community… … I have my family nearby … I see the typical landscape of my place of residence/region. fully applicable rather applicable rather not not at all n.A. I feel “at home” when…  factors of place attachment like place bonding, place dependence and social interactions are important  landscape and nature are defined as functional space via it’s potential for recreation and not as an unalterable entity To what extent do the following aspects shape the personal attachment to your place/region? Exemplary empirical findings I: Different place attachments n = 38
  • 10. 10 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 Exemplary empirical findings I: Different place attachments What changes would you find most disruptive? 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Waste disposal facilities (incineration plants for residual waste, landfills, disposal mines for hazardous/ toxic waste, etc.) New construction or expansion of commercial/industrial parks Expansion of transport routes (e.g. roads, railways) New construction or redensification of residential/office buildings Expansion of electricity or heating networks (e.g. overhead or underground cables) Expansion of energy generation plants (wind, ground-mounted PV, biogas plants, etc.) Clearing of forests Removal of transport infrastructure Final repository for nuclear waste n = 38  in terms of place attachment, it's not so much about preserving a 'typical' landscape per se, but about the functions and qualities of the environment  crucial factors are the risks communicatively and cognitively associated with a measure and the intensity and purpose of the intervention
  • 11. 11 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 2; 5% 23; 61% 1; 3% 10; 26% 2; 5% the model with sound (1) (urban - industrial area) the model (2) (rural - forest landscape - light) the model (3) (rural - forest landscape - dark) the model (4) (rural - agricultural landscape - light) the model (5) (rural - agricultural landscape - dark) n = 38 Exemplary empirical findings II: Different perceptions of a potential disposal site Which of the presented visualized models did you find most appealing?
  • 12. 12 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 Exemplary empirical findings II: Different perceptions of a potential disposal site Sentiment regarding the surface facilities: -4 -3,5 -3 -2,5 -2 -1,5 -1 -0,5 0 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4 distressed (-4) to happy (4) annoyed (-4) to pleased (4) dissatisfied (-4) to satisfied (4) despairing (-4) to hopeful (4) gloomy (-4) to comfortable (4) bored (-4) to interested (4) nervous (-4) to relaxed (4) excited (-4) to calm (4) insecure (-4) to secure (4) sad (-4) to happy (4) anxious (-4) to fearless (4) distrustful (-4) to trusting (4) before group discussion after group discussion Interpretation (after discussion): 1. less dispersion of answers: adjustment to moderate positions (discursively formed collective understanding) 2. positive development: interest, satisfaction and comfort in dealing with the issue has increased 3. negative development: respondents feel slightly more nervous, insecure and anxious 4. possible factors: high complexity, discussion of safety aspects, gained knowledge of processes and scientific approaches, gained trust in process, developed a collective understanding
  • 13. 13 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023  place attachment is more or less strong among the workshop participants  landscape is of high importance for the majority, but more in a functional way (for recreation etc.)  facilities for waste disposal are perceived as particularly disturbing  linked with safety issues (fears) and intergenerational justice  excursion: the analysis of the interviews we conducted suggests that place attachment may be strongly associated either  with social factors of place attachment if experiences with transformation exist,  or with landscape factors of place attachment if landscape conservation (e.g., viticulture) in conjunction with cultural practices are of importance (e.g., wineries, restaurants) Conclusion I
  • 14. 14 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023  perception of surface facilities is influenced by aesthetics and understanding of the repository as part of the energy transition  no fear of negative image change by repository; but a repository is not understood as a chance for regional development  visualization is perceived as helpful and discussion about the topic influenced perception positively Conclusion II “It is necessary to give people a chance to make the repository part of their place.” (Mbah/Kuppler i.a.)  there is a need for a place-sensitive long-term governance approach
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  • 16. 16 safeND, Mbah et al., Berlin, 14.09.2023 Thank you for your attention!