Zooming in on home: Photo elicitation in urban planning methodologies

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Anna Alice Wust
This report conveys the results of a photo elicitation study carried out with three women studying and living in Aalborg, Denmark, but originating from another country. The main conceptual framework for this study is ‘sense of place’ which discusses how meaning is given to places. The photo elicitation study investigates how the participants give meaning to their home and the adjoined surrounding area. By capturing their homes in photographs and then interpreting the pictures in in-depth interviews, allow the participants actively to take part in the inquiry. In this way, the photo elicitation studies often elicit a deeper understanding of the participants’ daily practices than word-based interview and still this method is not applied frequently in urban planning. This report investigates if photo elicitation is a useful method to provide insight in the participants ‘sense of home’ and if it offers insight into planning questions. The combination of photo elicitation and a focus on subjective meaning offers insights into how the three women create a sense of home. The women relate to curtain objects, such as their cup, chair or lamp and these physical elements are all inside their apartments. They see their ‘home’ as a collection of objects that all are meaningful in their own right. The participants have embedded emotions, memories feelings, etc. in the objects all of which are personal and therefore subjective. Furthermore, their home seem to be secluded and in that way set apart from the outside world, as if the participants have to cocoon themselves in their apartment to call it home. In relation to planning questions, this report also offers further perspectives, for using photo elicitation to access and involve group’s citizens that normally are not given a voice in the planning debate (teenagers, homeless, immigrants, etc.). Moreover, this method might even make it a fun experience to participate.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2009
Number of pages90
Publishing institutionAalborg University, Department of Development and Planning
ID: 18573925