Place and Quantitative Methods: Intersections and Opportunities for Health Geography Research

Authors: Sara McLafferty*, University of Illinois
Topics: Health and Medical, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: place, quantitative methods, big data
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 8
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The concept of place has been central to theoretical and empirical innovation in health geography for decades. At the same time, rapid advancements in quantitative analysis and spatial modeling have taken place, fueled by the increasing availability of big geospatial datasets and innovations in GIS-based methodologies. Although these two areas of inquiry – place and quantitative methods – have developed largely independently in health geography and related fields, I argue that opportunities exist to intersect them for productive dialogue and engagement. I review ongoing approaches to quantitative analysis that are increasingly informed by place concepts. These include methods for: characterizing places; placing access and availability of health services; and modeling associations between health and place. Opportunities for future methodological development are discussed, while also highlighting the need to think critically about how social processes selectively bias and structure quantitative health-related data.

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