Understanding stakeholders' attitudes toward water management interventions: Role of place meanings

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Water resource managers increasingly need to take the opinions of stakeholders into account when planning interventions. We studied stakeholders' concerns in two water management planning contexts, focusing on the meanings assigned to places and on attitudes toward proposed interventions. Semistructured interviews were held, and public meetings were observed in order to collect data. Five categories of place meanings emerged from the analysis: beauty (esthetic judgments), functionality (ways of use), attachment (feelings of belonging), biodiversity (meanings pertaining to nature), and risk (worries about current or future events). These categories reflect the basic dimensions of sense of place. Our results suggest that stakeholders' attitudes toward proposed interventions are, to a great extent, derived from their place meanings. Discussing place meanings during participatory planning processes could contribute substantially to successful water management.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberW01503
Number of pages11
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • resources management
  • value orientations
  • river management
  • sense
  • behavior
  • restoration
  • netherlands
  • perceptions
  • dimensions
  • attachment


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