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Place Attachment Assessment through the Lens of Territorial Identity: The Town of Oraviţa as a Case Study (Romania)

Florentina-Cristina MERCIU*1, Martin OLARU2, George-Laurenţiu MERCIU3
* Corresponding author
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Department of Human and Economic Geography, Interdisciplinary Center of Advanced Research on Territorial Dynamics, Bucharest, ROMANIA
2 University of Oradea, Faculty of Geography, Tourism and Sport, Doctoral School, Oradea, ROMANIA
3 University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Bucharest, ROMANIA
Pages: 5-22

Abstract. This study focuses on the analysis of place attachment related to the elements of territorial identity in Oraviţa, a small town in the Mountainous Banat. Oraviţa played a highly significant role from an economic and administrative point of view during the Austrian domination: it was the urban centre that coordinated the mining activity on the territory of Mountainous Banat. This study aims to assess the place attachment to several symbolic buildings in Oraviţa that have been identified as elements of territorial identity. In order to fulfil the purpose of this study, the following research questions were established: What are the main elements of territorial identity in Oraviţa represented in postcards over time? Which of the identified elements of territorial identity are currently being promoted and valued by the local public administration? What are the elements of territorial identity of Oraviţa to which the population is attached? From a methodological point of view, the authors used postcards to identify the elements of territorial identity. Subsequently, the place attachment to the representative historical buildings of Oraviţa was interpreted based on the analysis of the information posted on sites developed by members of the local community. In conclusion, the authors highlighted the particular characteristics of the urban fabric of Oraviţa and their various ways of use, elements through which the physical and social attachment of the local population were preserved.

K e y w o r d s: urban reminders, social value, postcards, media, visual discourse, participatory heritage sites