Main street transformed: Community sense of place for nonmetropolitan tourism business districts

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This case study applies the segment approach to investigate community sense of place for a small-town tourism business district (TBD). A stratified random sample of residents from Galena, Illinois (population 3,647), is analyzed to identify personal values and behaviors most closely associated with sense of place for downtown. Despite Galena's extreme orientation to tourism, natives and middle-class newcomers generally were found to be equally, and highly, involved with their TBD. Consequently, respondents claimed sentiments of "at-homeness" (or sense of place) for downtown regardless of their duration of residence. However, natives and newcomers collectively valued downtown for different reasons. One implication is that sense of place for downtown can translate into local agency-based projects and interest groups that promote or oppose the transformation of place. In turn, community cohesiveness can be threatened through the process of transforming a historic downtown into a TBD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-639
Number of pages31
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2000



  • Downtown development
  • Main street
  • Sense of place
  • Small town
  • Tourism business district (TBD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies

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