Background and Objectives: One of the effective and significant concepts that has drawn designer’s attention about human and environment is sense of belonging. In environmental design field, despite the frequent use of this word, a clear definition of this concept and its elements has not been presented yet. In this research, for the practical use of sense of belonging in the field of design, first of all, the dimensions and components of this concept, according to the needs of the field of design, have been defined and then the impact of the physical and emotional dimensions of belonging have been evaluated in different patterns of schools; in order to determine the roles of these components in the formation of sense of belonging and finally the quality of the design of educational environments. The primary goal of this study is to create a basis for quality environment in educational spaces by reinforcing sense of belonging and the secondary one is to explain the concept of sense of belonging within the framework of environmental design.
Methods: The first part of this study is theoretical type and the second one in terms of goal is applied, that forms a mixed-methods research. The first part is done by using descriptive and analytical methods and examining the theoretical and technical background, and the second part is a survey based on inferential statistics. Library instruments and a questionnaire were used to collect data. The research instrument of the survey part in this study is a researcher-made questionnaire, the final version of which has been approved after several stages of qualitative validity checkup. The statistical population of this study consists of high school students in Bojnord and the samples were randomly selected. Then, the effective components on the sense of belonging have been analyzed and prioritized based on the questionnaire indicators. Questionnaires collected from two patterns of modern and traditional schools in Bojnord were analyzed by SPSS software. In this regard, linear regression correlation test has been used to investigate the relationship between independent and dependent variables. Based on this, 16 indicators have been evaluated based on 3 dimensions of belonging; environmental, activity and emotional-psychological dimensions; then the amount and intensity of the correlation has been measured.
Findings: According to the obtained results, "Environmental dimensions" with a beta coefficient of 0.243 and a significance level of zero, have the highest correlation with the sense of belonging. This finding shows that the level of belonging among the research variables has the greatest impact from the physical dimensions and related indicators and the changes in this component predict about a quarter of the changes in the independent variable; the sense of belonging. The second component affecting the sense of belonging with beta 0.208 and the significance level 0.004 is "Emotional dimensions". This finding highlights the important connection between emotion and place. Also, the variable "Activity dimensions" with a beta number of 0.206 and a significance level of 0.001 is the third component which explains the sense of belonging and the promotion of belonging in the studied high-schools.
Conclusion: The "environmental dimension" component; which is arising from the physical characteristics of an environment is the most decisive factor in explaining the sense of belonging, because environmental dimensions are the source of the main features of the environment. Human is directly related to the body of an environment, and human perceptions are the result of initial interaction with the physical environment. Therefore, it is necessary to address the quality of educational environments within its physical structure. Another conclusion that the research findings show is that the traditional schools can create higher level of belonging to the environment in individuals, so the characteristics of these schools can be represented in the new experiences.
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