Care and place: The governance of spatial arrangements in health care

Runtime: 2014 – 2019

Project Description

Places are everywhere in healthcare; care always happens somewhere. Yet, place is often considered a backdrop and a canvas; a container for social interaction. What happens when we take place more seriously and see it as an active ingredient of the social world? This research on place and place making shows that places are productive in various ways and that they actively co-constitute care and care practices.

The goals of this project are to foreground place and use it as a concept, in order to understand (the governance of) care from a place-perspective. The work is focused on unusual, quirky places of care, where ‘place-ness’ can be clearly understood and spotlighted. Examples are a tiny, far-away island's under-performing nursing home, a baby foundling room, a living lab and a human decomposition body farm. These diverse cases are underlined by sensitivity to place and care as emergent and assembled together. An attention to the ‘place-ness’ of care – not only its location, but also its spatialities as meaningful and productive, is helpful to any analysis of current restructuring in the governance of healthcare. Whether it is about building healing environments for patients and staff or about keeping care small scale and local, place making is an on going, never ending political process, which should be understood and examined as an assemblage of situated caring practices.


Dara Ivanova, Iris Wallenburg, Roland Bal


In October 2017 Healthcare Governance organized the symposium ‘Building Care: Intersections of Health and Architecture’ at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, with the support of the Netherlands Graduate School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC)

Conference presentations and attendance:

  • November 2017: Stadmakers congress (City Makers conference), Rotterdam 
  • August 2017: 4S Annual Meeting Boston: STS (In)Sensibilities 
  • July 2017: EGOS Copenhagen: The Good Organization 
  • June 2017: Annual Symposium of Science and Technology Studies: Experimentation and Evidence, Helsinki
  • November 2016: Stadmakers congress (City Makers conference), Rotterdam
  • August 2016: 4S/EASST Annual Meeting Barcelona: Science and technology by other means: Exploring collectives, spaces and futures
  • July 2016: EGOS Naples: Organizing in the Shadow of Power
  • May 2016: Urban Transformations Conference: Vital Cities, Rotterdam
  • December 2015: APROS/EGOS Sydney: Spaces, Constraints, Creativities: Organization and Disorganization
  • July 2015: EGOS Athens: Organizations and the Examined Life: Reason, Reflexivity and Responsibility 
  • June 2015: Safety II and Beyond: Resilience meets Regulation, EUR Rotterdam
  • January 2015: Assembling Cities: STS Theories and Methodologies in Planning Studies, ETH Zurich