Document Type : Original Research Paper


Architecture Department, Faculty of Arts, University of Bojnord, Bojnord, Iran


Background and Objectives: Creating a sense of community provides desirable conditions for students' moral, social and physical development. Understanding this sense of community has received growing attention of researchers in various fields. Sociology stresses the sense of people’s belonging to a place, mainly by exploring social and emotional ties between people in a place, which deals with the mental perception and feelings that people have about a given place. From the perspective of anthropologists, it deals with subjects such as individual perception of place, the meaning of place, as well as aesthetic and emotional issues. In this context, belonging chiefly refers to the emotional connections between people and place. This issue is defined by anthropologists as the sense of belonging to a place or a symbolic relationship with a place, which is forged by attaching a symbolic meaning to a specific place. It further provides collective and individual perception and relationship with the environment. Landscape architects also see the sense of community as a concept closely associated with the sense of belonging to a place, contending that it is primarily cognitive and emotional. That is, this concept is explained for individuals through various common events, beliefs, experiences and cultural habits. In this regard, the present study was conducted with the aim of identifying factors affecting students' sense of community. With respect to its goal, this research is classified as an applied research.
Methods: In this research, attempts have been made to use the survey method to answer the research hypotheses and measure the studied indices. To do so, by studying the existing sources, 16 components affecting the sense of community were extracted. By designing, distributing and collecting the questionnaire, the views of the research community were examined. Accordingly, 40 questionnaires were distributed among a group of university professors and the effect and priority of the obtained psychological, physical and behavioral components were evaluated. After removing incomplete questionnaires, 19 questionnaires were included in the final analysis. We used hierarchical analysis process for this purpose.
Findings: The factors of security and knowing individuals and places among psychological components, the factor of spatial quality component among physical components, and the factor of collective activity among behavioral components were identified as the most important components affecting the sense of community in educational settings.
Conclusion: To promote the sense of community in educational settings, the following issues should be taken into account. 1) The importance of the place of activity: encouraging students to engage in various educational activities, such as sharing ideas with others, participating in class discussions, connecting with the teacher and providing an environment for gathering (amphitheater in a convenient place with ease of access). 2) The importance of security in a place: an external danger or threat or common threats can damage a sense of community in the environment or the solidarity of individuals.
To overcome the problems and issues that may arise from danger, social norms are required, especially when they provide security for individuals in the group. 3) The recognition of individuals and places: when students know each other, it fosters a social feature that leads to an improved sense of community. 4) Spatial quality: desirable and pleasant places that are visually stimulating enhance aware and environmental knowledge of people. The richer the place, the more people are encouraged to stay together.


Main Subjects

©2021 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers. 

[2]Cross J. Protecting our place: establishing and maintaining place attachments in the face of population growth and change[doctoral dissertation]. California: University of California; 2001.
[3]Altman I, Low SM. Place attachment. New York: Plenum;1992.
[6] Kamel Nia H. Architecture and community design patterns: a comparative study of community architecture approach from the perspective of environmental psychology [doctoral dissertation]. Tehran: University of Tehran; 2008.
[7] Sarason S. Psychological sense of community: Prospects for a community psychology. San Francisco: Jossey Bass; 1974.
[21] Jo Flage L. Building sense of community in rural North Dakota towns: opportunities for community education professionals [dissertation]. Fargo, North Dakota; North dakota state university: 2010.
[28] Hunter A. The persistence of local sentiments in mass society. Handbook of Contemporary Urban Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 1978.
[30] Alexander C. The patterns of languages: Cities. Tehran: Research Center for Roads, Housing and Urban Planning; 1977, Persian.
[32] Long J. Creating architectural theory: The role of behavioral sciences in environmental design. Tehran: Institute of Publications and Printing of Tehran University; 1938, Persian.