The change of university students' place attachment in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic: a case study on the Middle East Technical University campus

Yılmaz, Deniz
With the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which emerged in Wuhan in December 2019 and spread rapidly all over the world in a short time, there have been significant changes in people's lives. As in the rest of the world, quarantine, restriction, and social isolation measures were implemented to control the spread of the virus in Turkey. Within these measures, mobility was restricted, and people had to stay home. University students have taken their place in society as a mobile and social group. Restrictions, quarantines, and social isolation measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic have restrained/reduced this mobility and social interaction and activities. With these restrictions, their relationships with social life have weakened considerably. This has negatively affected their relationships with the places they are attached to in their daily lives. With the pandemic, public spaces could not be used efficiently in Turkey, and the rest of the world, and the ties with these spaces were inevitably affected. This thesis aims to examine and evaluate the change in the place attachment of university students to open public spaces on Middle East Technical University campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the theoretical part, the concepts of place attachment and public space were investigated in depth, and the parameters affecting place attachment in public spaces were determined. Also, the studies on place attachment and the use of public space during the COVID-19 period were examined. The case study investigated students' attachment to open public spaces on the METU campus and whether this attachment changed during the COVID-19 period by surveying 60 respondents. The answers have been analyzed with content analysis and descriptive statistics. According to the results of the survey, it was determined that the attachment of 57% of the respondents to the open public spaces on the METU campus decreased during the COVID-19 period. The parameters that affect this decrease are frequency of use (29%), interaction and activities (29%), sense of security (20%), length of engagement (13%), accessibility (8%), and physical attributes (3%) in descending order in terms of their percentages.


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Citation Formats
D. Yılmaz, “The change of university students’ place attachment in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic: a case study on the Middle East Technical University campus,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2022.