Call for Abstracts for Projections 15: "Practices of Health in Unruly Environments"

Our lived environments – the social, natural, and built worlds around us – are undergoing complex, unpredictable, and disruptive changes that are difficult to control. As these unruly environmental changes become embodied, they produce new forms of health inequity, vulnerability and risk. 

In the face of changes in the lived environment, actors engage in practices of health that seek to produce healthier human-environment relationships through patterns of activity performed with purpose and intent. Practices of health may be bodily, social, spatial, institutional, and/or professional. They may be carried out by a range of actors, and may span different geographic and temporal scales. These practices seek to produce health through healing, care, survival, joy, hope, justice and/or the prevention of harm. Thus, practices of health range from an individual gathering waste on a local shoreline, to researchers investigating emergent patterns of respiratory disease, to government authorities creating public health policies, to grassroots groups protesting environmental injustice.  

For urban planners and practitioners in allied fields, such as public health, who are grappling with how to create healthy human habitats within environments in constant flux, practices of health represent an important area for research and intervention.

The next issue of Projections will thus explore the theme of practices of health in unruly environments with a specific focus on articulating lessons from already-existing practices of health for practitioners in applied fields such as urban planning and public health. We are interested in papers that investigate one or more practices of health which anticipate or respond to environmental changes across any combination of geographical and temporal scales: from the microbial to the planetary; from the sudden eruption to the imperceptibly slow burn. We also expect contributors to explore the implications of their findings for practice, especially in urban planning and public health, and how their findings might be employed in the service of planning for healthy, livable and thriving human environments.  

We seek abstracts from authors interested in contributing to this edition of Projections. Abstracts should indicate how the paper will address the following questions:

  •  What is the environmental change of interest, and how does it affect health? 
  • In the face of the environmental change identified, what practice(s) of health help produce, promote or protect health? How do they do so, and for whom?
  • What lessons might practitioners in applied fields such as urban planning and public health draw from the practices of health being studied? For instance, how might practices of health inform policy and interventions to produce better health and health equity? How do policy and interventions influence practices of health? 

We encourage contributions from across the social sciences (e.g. anthropology, epidemiology, geography, sociology) and allied applied fields (e.g. urban planning, design, public health, social work). We are open to heterodox methods of inquiry that draw on innovative theoretical frameworks, and/or underexplored empirics. 

Papers will be juried through a blind peer-review process by an editorial board. This issue of Projections will be published in Spring 2020. Projections is the journal of the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning aiming to provide in-depth treatment of cutting edge ideas in planning. The journal is published by MIT Press once a year. 

Final papers should have between 5,000-7,000 words (excluding references).