Environmental Psychology: The Relationship Between Place, Identity, and Behavior


Plenty of research has been carried out, especially in the field of environmental psychology showing strong connections between the physical environment and a sense of self, with identity proving to be a significant mediator of behavior. This paper explores the relationship between place, identity, and behavior by showing that identity is formed by people’s interaction with the environment and manifested through an individual’s attachment to a certain place.

Relationship between Identity, Place, and Environmental Behavior

When we form an attachment to a place, we identify with the place on a large or small scale. For instance, a person can describe themselves depending on the continent, country, or town they come from on a large scale or the village, neighborhood, or house they live in.

Environmental preferences are also affected by the places where people have lived and influence the environment they may tend to like or prefer. Alternatively, places can also be affected by the identities of people. For example, individuals may personalize their house or garden to reflect their personality. Indeed, this can be done by using decorations, colors, or patterns that show a person’s identity.

The effect that place has on identity is, in most cases, the result of people interacting with their physical environment holistically. For instance, a person with a positive experience in a particular place will identify positively with the place. However, if the experience is negative, the person may have adverse attitudes toward the place and refuse to be associated with the place.


The physical environment is, therefore, a significant factor in identity formation. On the other hand, identity reveals itself in many ways, one through the place. Place, therefore, does not only refer to a particular context but also refers to an important part of identity. In essence, identity is formed when people interact with their environment; thus, it is, therefore, manifested through the places individuals occupy.

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