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Take care

Health itself is now a source of anxiety, “wellness” a pressing individual responsibility. That the built environment can make us sick has become clear. It’s tempting to believe that architecture or urban planning could also make us better—cure or soothe our bodies, help us get in shape, alleviate our stress. This issue explores these connections and interventions and the specific assumptions that nourish them. It registers real progress; it also considers the nauseating likelihood that our best intentions might only introduce new complications.

Article 4 of 9

Glasgow Improvements Act

Photographs by Thomas Annan

In 1866, the miserable living conditions of Glaswegians crowded together in unsanitary housing pushed the Glasgow city council to adopt the Glasgow City Improvements Act. This legislation, at the forefront of one of the first public health reform movements, aimed to tear down the slums in the poorest neighbourhoods of the old city to allow for new urban development. The Glasgow City Improvement Trust gave the photographer Thomas Annan the task of documenting the condemned buildings and narrow alleyways of the slums before they were dismantled. The thirty-one albumen silver prints made by Annan between 1868 and 1871 were collected in an album.

These works, along with more of Thomas Annan’s photographs of Glasgow, are part of our collection.

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