Environmental Identity and Community Support for the Preservation of Open Space


The preservation of open space, preserved or minimally developed stretches of land, is a pressing issue facing many United States’ communities. This paper examines one United States township’s attempts to preserve open space. Most residents surveyed (96 percent) approved of preserving open space, and most homeowners (73 percent) were willing to pay increased property taxes for preservation. Strong identification with nature and the township were associated with willingness to pay higher taxes. Respondents also rated the importance of qualities afforded by preserving open space. Valuing qualities of open spaces related to preserving its present state (e.g., preserving ecology and historical places) and following already established plans mediated relations between residents’ identification with nature and the township and their willingness to pay to preserve open space. Qualities that increase human access to the space (e.g., recreation and accessibility) did not show the same mediational relations. These results suggest that psychological identification with nature and the community play important roles in pro-environmental support. Both the practical and theoretical contributions of this research are discussed.


Psychological Science

Keywords and Phrases

Applied Research, Environmental Identity, Open Space, Place Identity, Willingness to Pay

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2014 Society for Human Ecology, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2014

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