The main hypothesis of this study is that, along with other influences, urban pattern (spatial configuration of neighbourhoods) plays a role in claiming the 'place' (developing environmental protective behaviour). In this context, three settlements in Istanbul, Turkey, are examined and compared, and the relationship between spatial configuration of the neighbourhoods and emergence of a neighbourhood initiative against a possible environmental threat is investigated. The effective protests demonstrated by residents in two of the selected settlements, against construction of a third bridge in the first case and against the construction activity in the last green space of the neighbourhood in the second case was the reason why these particular case studies were selected. The residents of the third settlement, although exposed to the same environmental damage with the first settlement, did not openly oppose the proposed interventions. This was therefore selected as a comparison case. In the investigation, using Space Syntax as a method to evaluate the social logic of space, findings from the case studies reveal similarities in the spatial patterns of two of the settlements, in that they form a neighbourhood integration core that has the potential to support human co-presence and social encounter, and therefore act as a foundation on which to establish NGO activity which might be referred to as environmentally protective behaviour. The differences in the third analysed settlement, which has the same socio demographic and natural factors but in which environmental protests were not seen, reveals the impact of the urban pattern. Therefore, the article presents data on the potential impact of urban pattern, in terms of organisation of its open spaces, on raising environmental protective behaviour of its residents.