Mapping the Sense of Place in Insa-dong, Korea

This study intends to investigate the strength of the sense of place at various spots in Insa- dong, one of the most famous traditional and cultural sites in Seoul, Korea, and to find the factors related to the distribution. The Kriging interpolation mapping method, which generates an estimated surface from a scattered set of points with z-values, was adopted to map the sense of place. Thirty subjects at each chosen location were randomly selected to respond to the following question using a 10-point Likert scale: "To what extent does this locale represent the characteristics of the Insa-dong area?" For the investigation of the variables related to the degree of the sense of place, types of building uses on the ground floor and behaviors at each locale in Insa-dong were surveyed. The following nine types of building uses were identified: folk shop (art, craft, and costume), gallery, traditional food restaurant, common food restaurant, small store (convenience store, etc.), cultural assets, public, residential, and other use. Behavior types were observed and recorded at 31 survey spots on Insa-dong streets. The following seven types of behaviors were identified:exercising/playing, relaxing/walking, meeting, performing/watching (festivals, events), shopping, dining, and viewing/appreciation (scenery, attraction).
The results of this study are as follows:(1) The levels of sense of place are generally higher along the major and central street in Insa- dong area. The farther locales reside from the major street, the lower the levels of sense of place. (2) Through the analysis of overlapping, the two distribution patterns of sense of place and building use, folk shops were found to be the most frequent type of building use in the locales with higher scores of sense of place. The type of building use appears to be one of the major variables in determining the degree of sense of place in Insa-dong area. (3) Through the analysis of overlapping the two distribution patterns of sense of place and behavior type, diverse types of behaviors are generally observed at locales with higher scores of sense of place and vice versa. Therefore, diversity of human activities can be considered as one of the major variables in determining the levels of sense of place in Insa-dong area.Accumulation of this line of evidence will eventually lead to a better understanding of sense of place and will contribute to the provision of meaningful and livable urban spaces.Contributor: Mintai KIM & YoonKu Kwon