The COVID-19 pandemic has re-ignited discussions of how architects, landscapes, and urban planners can shape the environment in response to disease. This challenge is both a timely topic and one with an illuminating history. In The Topography of Wellness, Sara Jensen Carr offers 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 has left its mark on our surroundings. While each solution succeeded in eliminating the disease on some level, sweeping environmental changes often came with significant social and physical consequences. Even more unexpectedly, some adaptations inadvertently incubated future epidemics. From the Industrial Revolution to present day, this book illuminates the constant evolution of our relationship to wellness and the environment by documenting the shifting grounds of illness and the urban landscape.


About the Author:

Sara Jensen CarrSara Jensen Carr’s teaching and research focuses on the connections between landscape, human health, urban ecology, and design. Sara holds a Master of Architecture from Tulane University, and a Master of Landscape Architecture and PhD in Environmental Planning from University of California Berkeley, where she was the co-founding editor of the ASLA Award-winning GROUND UP Journal. She is a licensed architect who has worked professionally in New Orleans and the San Francisco Bay Area. Her research and representational work has been exhibited at San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) gallery, the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2017, she held a residential Mellon Fellowship in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks.
This book will be available in September, 2021. To preorder, click here.