An investigation of visitor and resident place perceptions of Mid Wales, and an evaluation of the potential of such perceptions to shape economic development in the area
The research investigates visitor and resident place perceptions of Mid Wales and evaluates the potential of such perceptions to shape economic development in the area.
A review of literature indicated a need for an holistic approach to place. It was suggested that a starting point towards achieving this is to envisage place as three components - the real, the expected and the perceived. The real place is described using secondary statistical information and maps of the area. The expected place is described using topographical writing and guide books. The perceived place is examined through a combination of questionnaires and interviews with residents and visitors. These investigate perceptions of the landscape and economy of Mid Wales. The 'perceived places' of residents and visitors are described. A number of agencies based in Mid Wales were also interviewed to examine i) their perceptions of Mid Wales' ii) the way in which visitor and resident perceptions are incorporated into the policy development process, and, iii) their responses to some of the preliminary outcomes of the research.
The research concluded that both residents and visitors have well defined, but different place perceptions of Mid Wales. Visitor perceptions are more affected by the expected place than the real, whilst resident perceptions are more affected by the real place than the expected. There are currently few mechanisms by which place perceptions are directly incorporated into the development process. However, the place perceptions of agencies were found to be close to those of the groups they represented; it is suggested that place perceptions are fundamental truths shared by groups, which are so strong as to actually subconsciously drive the policy development process. Policy implications are suggested, as are ideas for future research.