First Advisor

Karen Gibson

Date of Publication

Summer 8-21-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Saint Johns (Portland Or.), Place (Philosophy), Group identity -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Neighborhoods -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 190 pages)


The St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland is known for its strong regional identity, working class character, and diversity. Portland as a whole has experienced a major socioeconomic shift in the last ten years, and these changes are hitting St. Johns particularly hard. My research seeks to identify the place meanings that underpin sense of place, place attachment, and processes of attachment formation, among residents of the neighborhood. My research questions are: What are the objects of attachment? Why (the place meanings that underpin attachment)? And how (through what processes are attachments formed)? In what ways are the "why" and "how" intertwined? What are the commonalities across different variables, and how do those gesture at a holistic St. Johns essence, or sense of place?

My primary method was Resident-Employed Photography, supported by participant observation and archival research. This 'photo voice' method entailed giving single-use cameras to 43 place-attached St. Johns residents and asking them to photograph and write about twelve things that explain their connection. The results offer a rich, multifaceted understanding of place meanings and processes of attachment in St. Johns, and insight into what individual facets are most intrinsic to sense of place.

The intention of this research is to inform planning efforts, contribute to community dialogues about the future of St. Johns, empower residents to become civically engaged, and articulate a sense of place that can be leveraged by the community in spatial struggles.


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Persistent Identifier

Included in

Sociology Commons