Open Voices Blog

News and conversations about the growing evidence of the healing power of nature and green development in cities

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Open Voices News Roundup: August 28

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.
Mother Nature’s Daughters
“If you wanted to find someone…

Open Voices News Roundup: August 21

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.
Hot and Getting Hotter: Heat Islands Cooking U.S. Cities…

Open Voices News Roundup: August 14

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.
Community Resilience at the Edge
“Is resilience ecological, economic,…

New Open Space Sacred Place Dedicated in Joplin MO

The Butterfly Garden and Overlook at Cunningham Park in Joplin, MO, is an Open Space Sacred Place where individuals may work through the pain of grieving for a loved one or something lost.  Conceived as a place of healing in…

Open Voices News Roundup: August 28

08/28/14 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Mother Nature’s Daughters

“If you wanted to find someone picking a fat tomato this week in the City of New York, you could go see Esther and Pam, near the kiddie-pool planters on the rooftop of the Metro Baptist Church in Hell’s Kitchen. … In recent years, chefs, writers, academics, politicians, funders, activists and entrepreneurs have jumped on the hay wagon for urban agriculture. New York now counts some 900 food gardens and farms, by the reckoning of Five Borough Farm, a research and advocacy project. Yet city farmers will tell you that the green-collar work on these small holdings is the province of a largely pink-collar labor force. Cecilia, not Caspar. And they’ll provide the staffing numbers to show it.”

Portland Buys 25 Acres for Nature-Friendly ‘Gateway Green’ Bike Haven

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Open Voices News Roundup: August 21

08/21/14 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Hot and Getting Hotter: Heat Islands Cooking U.S. Cities

“Cities are almost always hotter than the surrounding rural area but global warming takes that heat and makes it worse. In the future, this combination of urbanization and climate change could raise urban temperatures to levels that threaten human health, strain energy resources, and compromise economic productivity…With more than 80 percent of Americans living in cities, these urban heat islands — combined with rising temperatures caused by increasing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions — can have serious health effects for hundreds of millions of people during the hottest months of the year.”

 

Photo courtesy of www.triplepundit.com

Photo courtesy of www.triplepundit.com

Can Detroit Restart Its Engine?

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Open Voices News Roundup: August 14

08/14/14 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Community Resilience at the Edge

“Is resilience ecological, economic, cultural, or social? For Red Hook and Hunts Point, two communities in New York City, the answer is all of the above, argued Barbara Wilks, FASLA, and Richard Roark, ASLA, at a talk at the Center for Architecture in New York City … Focusing on public corridors could help create social resiliency and civic spirit. Re-integrating the historic maritime legacy more closely with other parts of the community could strengthen local identity. And embracing the importance of water as not only threat but also opportunity could be important in a community that had some streets under as much as five feet of water following Hurricane Sandy.”

Oakland Hires Its First ‘Chief Resilience Officer’

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Open Voices News Roundup: June 24

06/24/14 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Living on the Edge
“Everyone wants to live next to a park.  Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and his civic patrons knew this early on. Olmsted also saw it as the landscape architect’s duty to carefully orchestrate the relationship between what he termed the “main park” and the “outer park,” thus the adoption of generous setbacks, for example, along the edge of New York’s Central Park from the contiguous high-rise development.”

Does Beauty Still Matter?
“There was a time, not too long ago, when the quality of urban landscapes was determined by what they looked like and what it was like to be in them. Their ecological and human health benefits were well known, but these were seen mainly as positive by-products of what was more important: improving the quality of life for people living in cities by providing them with access to nature, or at least some semblance of it. The desire for urban parks was rooted in a simple, yet deep appreciation for the beauty of landscape.”

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What’s Happening?

06/19/14 | View Comments

A snapshot of upcoming events where you can enjoy the benefits associated with experiencing nearby nature in cities.

jens movie

Jens Jensen Movie:  The Living Green
“Today four out of five Americans live in cities. Yet the connection between the urban experience and the physical and emotional need for city and national parks is only just beginning to be made. A century ago, a rebellious Dane, JENS JENSEN (1860 – 1951), rose from street sweeper to ‘dean of landscape architects’ to pioneering conservationist when he risked his career to stand-up to Andrew Carnegie and JP Morgan whose steel mills threatened to industrialize the entire Indiana shoreline.”

When:  Tonight!
Where:  Chicago’s Millennium Park – FREE

Green City Teachers Summer Training

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Open Voices News Roundup: June 16

06/16/14 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Nature Is But Another Name for Health
“’We are trying to figure out precisely what types of nature provide the most health benefits,’ said William Sullivan, ASLA, a landscape architecture professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, at the Environmental Design Research Assocation (EDRA) conference in New Orleans. The eventual goal is to be able to prescribe doses of nature, or specific activities in nature, to help with a range of illnesses.  ’But today — although we have good evidence that exposure to green landscapes is good for you — we can’t say if you design something this way, people will live four years longer.’”

How Can We Design A Better Hospital?

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What’s Happening?

06/13/14 | View Comments

A snapshot of upcoming events where you can enjoy the benefits associated with experiencing nearby nature in cities.

Pollinator Week
“Seven years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations.  Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort.  The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture signs the proclamation every year.”

When:  June 16 – 22, 2014
Where:  find an event near you!

Baltimore Growing Green Competition

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Open Voices News Roundup: June 2

06/02/14 | View Comments

Urban Green Space for Mental Wellness
“A holistic, optimistic approach to health supports productive individuals, and livable communities where people can thrive. Health is not simply an absence of disease or infirmity, but is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Wholesome living environments integrate the opportunities of built, social, natural, and (increasingly) online components to help people be at their best. One important aspect of health – mental function and wellness – is not only the outcome of personal and lifestyle situations, but is highly dependent on the natural and built environments that surround a person.”

The Doctor’s Order? Spend More Time in Nature
“Park Rx aims to substitute outdoors time for medical treatment.  We’ve all fallen victim to spending too much time cooped up inside, hunched over computers and binge-watching television shows. So in an effort to curb those nasty habits and get young people moving, one innovative Washington, D.C., doctor is teaming up with the National Parks Service to treat sickness with sunshine.”

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What’s Happening?

05/30/14 | View Comments

A snapshot of upcoming events where you can enjoy the benefits associated with experiencing nearby nature in cities.

buffalo

CNU 22: The Resilient Community
“The annual Congress for the New Urbanism is the leading venue for new urbanist networking, collaboration, and education. CNU members come from far and wide to discuss development practices and public policies, learn from recent innovative work, and advance new initiatives to transform our communities. Join us in Buffalo, New York – the city Frederick Law Olmsted deemed “the best planned city in the United States, if not the world” – and be a part of CNU 22.”

When:  June 4-7, 2014
Where:  Buffalo, NY

National Trails Day
“American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is the country’s largest celebration of trails. Mark your 2014 calendar for Saturday, June 7 to prepare for this year’s big celebration.   National Trails Day events include hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more.”

When:  June 7, 2014

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New Open Space Sacred Place Dedicated in Joplin MO

05/29/14 | View Comments

Butterfly2

The Butterfly Garden and Overlook at Cunningham Park in Joplin, MO, is an Open Space Sacred Place where individuals may work through the pain of grieving for a loved one or something lost.  Conceived as a place of healing in response to the devastating tornado of May 2011 killing 161 people, the garden gives form to the Four Tasks which help people move into the next phase of life after experiencing a loss, and each are represented as architectural and natural elements through the gardens.

  • The first task, “Accepting the Reality of Loss,” begins as visitors pass through the portal of the lost home, the front door.
  • The path takes you on a journey around the site, allowing for Task Two “Processing the Pain of Grief.”  Areas with a bench and journal act as destinations and offer a sacred space in nature to move towards
  • Task Three, “Adjust to a World without What was Lost.”  Visitors are encouraged to write and reflect in the journals.
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We are a private nonprofit that funds publicly accessible urban green space. We believe that everyone needs to “be in nature” as nature both heals and unifies us. The Foundation partners with organizations to create Open Spaces Sacred Places, which increase a sense of community and contribute to a deepening of human connections. These sacred places reawaken and reaffirm the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing.

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