Architecture and power: a family planning clinic as a case study

Health Place. 2002 Sep;8(3):211-20. doi: 10.1016/s1353-8292(02)00002-3.


This paper considers the interface between architecture and sociology. In particular, the paper assesses the ways architecture, as a means of ordering space, can have significant implications for cultural practices associated with health and health care. First, the wider context of power relations invested in the built form are considered in a health context, and their impact on social relations explored. Second, the paper draws on a Family Planning Clinic (FPC) as a case study for the exploration of unequal power relations embedded in the materiality and structures of the architectural space in which the service is contained. The paper concludes that rather than a neutral backdrop to social relations, architecture, materiality and space can uphold dominant cultural discourses, social divisions and inequalities.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Architecture*
  • Facility Design and Construction*
  • Family Planning Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Power, Psychological
  • Sociology, Medical
  • United Kingdom