The Topography of Wellness: Health and the American Urban Landscape
Sara Jensen Carr
April 30, 2019
CED alumna and professor Sara Jensen Carr (M.L.A ‘09 & Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning) is adept at sharing her environmental design expertise. During her graduate studies at CED, Carr cofounded the student-produced, ASLA award-winning Ground Up Journal. Now thanks to a grant from the Graham Foundation, she will be able to bring more of her research and ideas to the forefront with her latest publication, The Topography of Wellness: Health and the American Urban Landscape. The Foundation awarded 63 projects, including films, performances, and exhibitions, that displayed originality, diversity, and an intent to advance our understanding of the designed environment.
Below is a summary of Carr’s work which beat out 500 other proposals and is set for publication in 2020:
"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."
Carr is a residential fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, design fellow at San Francisco Planning and Urban Research and a practiced architect in New Orleans and San Francisco. Currently, Carr is an assistant professor in architecture, urbanism, and landscape at the School of Architecture at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.