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Critically exploring public realm greenspace as a therapeutic landscape and the role of Green Social Prescribing

Thompson, Jessica; Howarth, Michelle; Hardman, Michael; Cook, Penny


Jessica Thompson

Michelle Howarth


This chapter explores the concept of, and presents the case for, public realm greenspace as a therapeutic landscape. We argue that the act of cultivating this landscape is a means by which to offer opportunity for wellness through access and interaction. Civic environmental participation relies on pathways to nature-based activities designed to cultivate, or nurture, the landscape at a
neighbourhood level. Green Social Prescribing (GSP) is a relatively new health initiative to connect those with a health or wellbeing need through a ‘prescription’ to activities associated with the cultivation of public realm greenspace, particularly in the urban context, with the aim of improving health and reducing
the burden on health care systems. This chapter brings together narratives from the environment sector, public health and health geography to understand the relevance of GSP in the green public realm landscape in the wake of COVID, an era now alert to climate and biodiversity emergencies and rife with chronic health and mental health issues. The chapter will discuss why it is that the environmental ‘third sector’ (i.e., non-governmental and non-profit-making organisations) is driving forward the GSP movement, rather than the health sector. We draw upon case studies based in the northwest of England to reflect on practice issues that may influence the success of GSP in the long term.


Thompson, J., Howarth, M., Hardman, M., & Cook, P. (2023). Critically exploring public realm greenspace as a therapeutic landscape and the role of Green Social Prescribing. In Cultivated Therapeutic Landscapes. Taylor & Francis (Routledge).

Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2023
Online Publication Date Aug 17, 2023
Publication Date 2023-09
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2024
Publicly Available Date Aug 18, 2024
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Book Title Cultivated Therapeutic Landscapes
Keywords greenspace; nature; health; wellbeing
Publisher URL