chapter  4
32 Pages

Sanitizing Neighborhoods: Geographies of Health

From the mid-nineteenth century, public health was a growing concern in the cities of Western Europe and a new field of science was having an impact. ‘Sanitary science’ was premised on the idea that sanitary reform and hygiene could prevent the spread of infectious diseases and decrease mortality from them. In the industrial cities of Western Europe, the prevalence of dysentery, typhoid, and tuberculosis, as well as frequent and devastating epidemics of plague and cholera, brought public-health issues to the forefront.1 Medical statistics also proved that these diseases were preventable. New concepts of sanitation and health redefined the functions and behavior of the body in space. After years of suffering the scourge of epidemics, the idea of applying scientific thought and reason to control sickness and even death was an undoubted progress for proponents of Western modernism.