• The Topography of Wellness: Health and the American Urban Landscape
    Sara Jensen Carr
    University of Virginia Press, 2020
    Sara Jensen Carr

Sara Jensen Carr, illustration, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

The Topography of Wellness is a chronological narrative of how six epidemics transformed the American urban landscape, reflecting changing views of the power of design, pathology of disease, and the epidemiology of the environment. From the infectious diseases of cholera and tuberculosis, to so-called “social diseases” of idleness and crime, to the more complicated origins of today’s chronic diseases, each illness and its associated combat strategies of quarantine, elimination, or acupuncture has left its mark on the present-day physical environment. While each succeeded in eliminating the disease on some level, great social and physical fallout often accompanied these sweeping environmental alterations. Even more unexpectedly, some movements inadvertently incubated future epidemics. From the Industrial Revolution to today, this book illuminates the state of our own present-day relationship to wellness and the environment through a joint narrative of the shifting grounds of illness and the urban landscape.

Sara Jensen Carr is an assistant professor in architecture, urbanism, and landscape at the School of Architecture at Northeastern University. Her research, teaching and practice examines both the tensions and potential of modifying the urban landscape for human health and social and environmental equity. Carr holds an MArch from Tulane University and an MLA and PhD in Environmental Planning from University of California Berkeley, where she was the cofounding editor of the ASLA award-winning Ground Up  Journal. She was residential Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, and a Patri Urban Design Fellow at San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR). As a licensed architect, she has practiced professionally in New Orleans and San Francisco and most recently held a joint appointment in the School of Architecture and Office of Public Health Studies at University of Hawaii at Manoa.