Just Green Social Prescribing? A History of 'Nature' as a Therapeutic Landscape in England

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This paper offers a critical, constructive engagement with emerging discourses of green social prescribing. It will first discuss how ‘nature’ as a therapeutic landscape in England has been constructed around fixed aesthetics of people and place. Specifically, legacies of racial knowledge that underpin the romantic concept of ‘nature’ are highlighted. It will be argued that providing a critical, historical context foregrounds the tension between the contemporary ‘minority-nature-separated’ narrative and the colonial narratives that position racialised people as close to nature. Further, it will explore this paradox and how it points to the social constructions of both ‘race’ and ‘nature’ over time, thus necessitating a reframing of ‘racial’ or ethnic inequalities in access to ‘nature’. This informs an interrogation of the idea of a ‘nature cure’ or ‘nature dose’, highlighting how such narratives can reinscribe hierarchical, fixed, categories of knowledge, as well as individualistic and apolitical health practices. The implications for a socially-just green social prescribing programme are then discussed. It is argued that research on green social prescribing should challenge fixed, flat or homogenised ideas of ‘nature’ and ‘green space’. Instead, green social prescribing should work with an understanding of the therapeutic landscape of ‘nature’ as constructed, dynamic and relational. This approach opens up questions on how to create a framework and practice of green social prescribing that is genuinely inclusive and just.

Key words: nature, ‘race’, green space, green social prescribing
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2022
EventRoyal Geographical Society Annual International Conference (with IBG) 2022 - University of Newcastle, Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Aug 20222 Sept 2022


ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society Annual International Conference (with IBG) 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • nature
  • race
  • green space
  • green social prescribing
  • therapeutic landscapes
  • England


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