An Integrative Theoretical Model for Improving Resident–city Identification

Sebastian Zenker, Sibylle Petersen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Research from social and environmental psychology has shown that identification by residents with a place leads to numerous desirable outcomes like increased commitment and residential satisfaction. Thus, in the competition for residents, cities focus on building a favorable identity of a place to increase identification with the place. However, little is known regarding the predictors of resident–city identification and their link to desirable outcomes. We thus present an interdisciplinary model which outlines determinants and outcomes of identification and which integrates theories from geography, psychology, and organizational science to introduce a new theoretical perspective to the field of urban research. We propose that a strong resident–city identification results from a fit between the city prototype and the resident’s self-concept. In this relationship, perceived place complexity is a central variable. We develop research propositions and suggest an agenda for testing the model empirically. Finally, we discuss how increasing resident–city identification by using a more complex communication can benefit both the city and its inhabitants.
TidsskriftEnvironment and Planning A
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)715-729
StatusUdgivet - 2014
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • City identification
  • Complexity
  • City communication
  • City marketing
  • Social identity
  • Place perception
  • Recidents