Sarah S Wakefield, Colin C McMullan


Ongoing interest in therapeutic landscapes has contributed noticeably to the development of a "post-medical geography of health" (Kearns, R.A., Professional Geographer 45 (1993) 139). Drawing on a variety of sources, including in-depth interviews and newspaper coverage from Hamilton, Canada, this paper explores the processes by which ordinary places are characterised as healthy or unhealthy, and investigates how health-affirming and health-denying places exist together in everyday life. We argue that it is possible for places to simultaneously hurt and heal, and that the therapeutic effect of place is largely contingent on individuals' physical and social locations. Further, we attempt to illustrate how these meanings are negotiated at a variety of different geographic scales.