Healthy Places

Towards a Transdisciplinary Mapping of the Theoretical Landscape

Healthy Places theory environmental stress person-environment fit theory of place


December 15, 2020


This 21st century has brought robust attention to the role the environment plays in human health. This article offers a mapping of the theoretical landscape to help orient and potentially connect the diverse research conducted in the areas of healthy places. The premise is that much research has been conducted within the environmental stress approach to understanding the health-environment nexus, but that additional, important work has also been conducted within both a Fit and a Place approach that provide different insights into healthy places. Each approach has its own underlying assumptions regarding the relationship between human and environment, the research questions that should be asked, the type of validity valued and praxeological assumptions. Each approach also has differing affinities with various theories of health that may serve useful in connecting Healthy Place Research to interdisciplinary research endeavors. Here it is asserted that the concepts and models of allostatic load, salutogenesis and cumulative (dis)advantage hold great promise for connecting Healthy Place Research to robust fields of health inquiry.

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