Publication: Place attachment and digitalisation in rural regions

Lisa Birnbaum, Carola Wilhelm, Tobias Chilla and Stephan Kröner published an article on „Place attachment and digitalisation in rural regions” in Journal of Rural Studies (impact factor: 4.849).


Abstract: This paper reflects on place attachment in times of digitalisation in rural regions. Our qualitative study explores the extent to which and with which characteristics place attachment ‘translates’ into the digital format. The paper analyses 193 digital projects presented in the internet. These cases cover several European countries with a particular focus on Germany. The analysis is based on a three-dimensional framework involving attachment concepts, space/place and digitalisation. From a systematic categorisation of the case studies, six result patterns emerge: Some of them confirm place attachment patterns, which are well known from the debate on ‘non-digital’ place attachment (e.g., the importance of emotions). Other findings show that digitalisation does make a difference, in particular concerning abstract, non-localised spatial references to the rural area. Finally, we deduce some implications from our findings for practical implementation in regional development.

Keywords: Place attachment; Regional identity; Digitalisation; Rural areas; Sense of place; Regional development