Historic Buildings Make Us Feel Good; Study Shows Sites Create Sense of Place

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

HOW the North East's heritage helps boost the quality of life in the region was revealed yesterday. The results of a study by Newcastle University was part of Heritage Counts 2009, the annual report on the state of the historic environment, published by English Heritage on behalf of the whole heritage sector.

The Government recently acknowledged the impact of the design and condition of places on crime levels, social well-being and regeneration.

But until yesterday there has been no solid evidence of a link between living in an area with historic features and how content and connected people feel to a place.

The research by Newcastle University's Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies explored the role the historic environment plays in creating a stronger sense of place.

Sense of place refers to satisfaction felt by people about where they live and a sense of being part of a community. The Newcastle study showed the historic environment has a significant and positive relationship to sense of place and that people who are interested in the historic environment are more likely to have a stronger sense of place, as are those who can cite a local building or monument as being special.

Baroness Andrews, chairman of English Heritage, said: "This evidence shows without a doubt our historic environment adds to community happiness. …