Conceptualizing the healthscape: contributions of time geography, location technologies and spatial ecology to place and health research

Soc Sci Med. 2010 Mar;70(5):668-76. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.10.035. Epub 2009 Dec 4.


Geomatics and related technologies allow for the application of integrated approaches to the analysis of individual spatial and temporal activities in the context of place and health research. The ability to track individuals as they make decisions and negotiate space may provide a fundamental advance. This paper introduces the need to move beyond conventional place-based perspectives in health research, and invokes the theoretical contributions of time geography and spatial ecology as opportunities to integrate human agency into contextual models of health. Issues around the geographical representation of place are reviewed, and the concept of the healthscape is introduced as an approach to operationalizing context as expressed by the spatial and temporal activities of individuals. We also discuss how these concepts have the potential to influence and contribute to empirical place and health research.

MeSH terms

  • Environment
  • Environment Design
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Geography*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Movement
  • Sociology, Medical*
  • Time