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From therapeutic landscape to therapeutic ‘sensescape’ experiences with nature? A scoping review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clare HickmanORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The therapeutic landscapes literature has evolved considerably since the concept was first proposed to understand how experiences of health and wellbeing unfold and develop through physical, social and symbolic dimensions of landscape encounter. Informed by a critical scoping review, this paper charts how the senses have been attended to across the therapeutic landscapes literature published since 2007 (the publication date of the previous edited volume on Therapeutic Landscapes). We focus specifically on literature pertaining to ‘nature-based’ therapeutic encounters, responding to calls to re-situate the body in wider interdisciplinary scholarship around nature, health and wellbeing. We attend to imagined and embodied visual, sonic, olfactory, haptic and gustatory sensations, and the varied ways in which these are interpreted and made sense of individually and collectively. In line with prominent visual landscape preoccupations, this body of literature largely privileges and focuses on the visual sense. While there is increasing interest in auditory, haptic and olfactory qualities of encounter, taste remains largely overlooked. This uneven focus neglects the potential richness and diversity of therapeutic sensescape encounters, as well as the cultural and social sensory histories that shape how contemporary encounters may be experienced and interpreted. Suggestions for future research are outlined, including methodological and empirical directions across the social sciences, arts and humanities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bell S, Hickman C, Houghton F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Wellbeing, Space and Society

Year: 2023

Volume: 4

Print publication date: 25/12/2022

Online publication date: 22/12/2022

Acceptance date: 19/12/2022

Date deposited: 09/01/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2666-5581

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.wss.2022.100126


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