Web of attributes: analysing residents’ appreciation of a Dutch neighbourhood from a new heritage perspective

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In the last century, the concept of what can be heritage has expanded in definition, opening to everyday architecture and living environments. More recently, the group of stakeholders to be involved in heritage assessment and management has slowly grown, with authorities acknowledging that heritage significance lies in the representation and identification for people and that people could help define it. Studying the significance of everyday residential neighbourhoods and the inclusion of individual responses creates a demand for new methods. Although in heritage studies these methods remain undefined, studies on housing preferences offer starting points for new approaches. This paper presents a significance assessment of an everyday living environment by its residents, from a new heritage perspective. By analysing individual responses, this research discusses more inclusive methods of assessing significance. A neighbourhood in the Dutch town Almere, is used as a case study. Based on a survey in diary format, residents’ appreciation of their living environment is analysed using values-attributes and means-end theory. Results show that assessments of individual residents consist of chains of tangible and intangible attributes. The paper proposes a new analytical model, the ‘Web of Attributes’, which visualizes residents’ responses and reveals the diversity and relations between the attributes best appreciated in a specific living environment. The Web of Attributes can serve as visual reporting in statements of significance, for listed and non-listed neighbourhoods. By combining theories from housing preferences and heritage significance assessment, this novel research explores narrow the gap between the assessments of heritage and everyday neighbourhoods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2473-2499
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Citizen participation
  • Heritage significance
  • Housing preferences
  • Means-end chains
  • Residential architecture
  • Values and attributes

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