Using Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) to Assess Children Attachment to Traditional Architectural Images

Ahmed Agiel, Shamma Alhosani, Atmah Aldhaheri, Shaimaa Abdelbaqi, Najeeba Kutty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


Global architecture as a trend has created an unbalanced visual identity by neglecting the cultural past and the traditional local architecture. This intellectual movement results in an emotional disconnection between the people and their locality. Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) faces challenges when it comes to protecting its local architectural identity. At this point, UNICEF necessitates the participation of youth in perceiving and expressing ideas relative to their interactive visual built environments. Therefore, the study explores the potential of the 'brand image' of architecture for creating a sense of attachment in the children's minds towards their visual built environment. Centered on Personal Construct Psychology (PCP) (Kelly, 1955), a 'Brand Perception' framework based on the design principles of Interest, Pleasure, Desirability, Loyalty, and Recognition was established. An empirical study relying on RGT interviews was conducted on a random sample of 70 participants (Emirati and Indian, aged 7-12) from the city of Al Ain, UAE. The resultant emotional responses towards the 'photographic' stimuli of Local images (LI), Brand images (BI), Foreign images (FI), New images (NI), and Brand Indian images (BII), representing diverse architectural styles were validated using analysis of variances (ANOVA). For p<.05, the Emirati participants show a significant emotional attachment towards the architectural forms signified by the LI (T-value= 8.410, p = 0.000), BI (T-value= 11.920, p = 0.000) and BII (T-value= 7.770, p = 0.000). Whereas, the T and p values for Indian participants depict a significant inherent attachment towards the LI (T-value= 2.660, p = 0.009), NI (T-value= 2.980, p = 0.003) and BII (T-value= 1.250, p = 0.0214). Conversely, BII-3 (the Taj Mahal) creates a significant emotional response from the Emirati's only due to the resemblance in architectural visual expression to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The results suggest that the children are emotionally attached to the architecture of their locale. Exposure to Brand Images (BI) and Local Images (LI) representing the architecture of the locale imparted the highest emotional responses of loyalty (68.6%) and recognition (50%) in the Emiratis. Similarly, viewing the Brand India Images (BII) led to an increase in the Indian participant's emotional responses of loyalty (52.9%) and recognition (50.7%). Although NI influences the desirability of Indians, no significant effect is produced by FI and NI on the Emiratis. The findings envision an “inclusive, people-centered, livable and culturally profound city”, emphasizing the youngster's emotional attachment to visual architectural cultural heritage as an essential for happiness and wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZEMCH 2021 - 8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsKheira Anissa Tabet Aoul, Mohammed Tariq Shafiq, Daniel Efurosibina Attoye
PublisherZEMCH Network
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9789948310006
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Oct 26 2021Oct 28 2021

Publication series

NameZEMCH International Conference
ISSN (Electronic)2652-2926


Conference8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates


  • Brand attachment
  • Children
  • Personal construct psychology (PCP)
  • Repertory grid technique (RGT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Computer Science Applications


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