From therapeutic landscapes to healthy spaces, places and practices: A scoping review
Williams, Allison M.
Bell, Sarah L.
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The term ‘therapeutic landscapes’ was first coined by health geographer, Wilbert Gesler, in 1992 to explore why certain environments seem to contribute to a healing sense of place. Since then, the concept and its applications have evolved and expanded as researchers have examined the dynamic material, affective and socio-cultural roots and routes to experiences of health and wellbeing in specific places. Drawing on a scoping review of studies of these wider therapeutic landscapes published between 2007 and 2016, this paper explores how, where, and to what benefit the ‘therapeutic landscapes’ concept has been applied to date, and how such applications have contributed to its critical evolution as a relevant and useful concept in health geography. Building on themes included in two earlier (1999, 2007) edited volumes on Therapeutic Landscapes, we summarise the key themes identified in the review, broadly in keeping with the core material, social, spiritual and symbolic dimensions of the concept initially posited by Gesler. Through this process, we identify strengths and limitations of the concept and its applications, as well as knowledge gaps and promising future directions for work in this field, reflecting critically on its value within health geography and its potential contribution to wider interdisciplinary discussions and debates around ‘healthy’ spaces, places, and related practices.
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