Using geonarratives to explore the diverse temporalities of therapeutic landscapes: perspectives from ‘green’ and ‘blue’ settings
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Reason for embargo
A growing evidence base highlights “green” and “blue” spaces as examples of “therapeutic landscapes” incorporated into people’s lives to maintain a sense of wellbeing. A commonly overlooked dimension within this corpus of work concerns the dynamic nature of people’s therapeutic place assemblages over time. This article provides these novel temporal perspectives, drawing on the findings of an innovative three-stage interpretive geo-narrative study conducted in south-west England from May to November 2013, designed to explore the complex spatial-temporal ordering of people’s lives. Activity maps produced using accelerometer and Global Positioning system (GPS) data were used to guide in-depth geonarrative interviews with 33 participants, followed by a subset of go-along interviews in therapeutic places deemed important by participants. Concepts of “fleeting time”, “restorative time” and “biographical time” are used, alongside notions of individual agency, to examine participants’ green and blue space experiences in the context of the temporal structures characterising their everyday lives and the biographical experiences contributing to the perceived importance of such settings over time. In a culture that by and large prioritises speed, dominated by social ideals of, for example, the “productive worker” and the “good parent”, participants conveyed a desire to shift from “fleeting time” to “restorative time”, seeking a balance between embodied stillness and therapeutic mobility. This was deemed particularly important during more stressful life transitions, such as parenthood, employment shifts and the onset of illness or impairment, when participants worked hard to tailor their therapeutic geographies to shifting wellbeing needs and priorities.
This work was supported by the European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor and Francis via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 107 (1), pp. 93-108