Open Voices Blog

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

“You are ok. Everything will be ok!” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

04/21/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Washington Parks and People – Meridan Hilltop Gathering Place in Washington, DC. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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Riots, Respite and Renewal in West Baltimore

04/12/17 | View Comments

From the outside, it could be easy to make assumptions about Sandtown-Winchester—the West Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was fatally arrested two years ago today. Vacant, dilapidated homes and boarded-up storefronts tell a candid story—a story of persistent poverty, crime, and misfortune. Yet, if you look closely, bright glimmers of promise and progress dot the urban landscape in some surprising ways.

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Running from Tigers and Deadlines

04/10/17 | View Comments

In the cities of 2017, nearby nature provides opportunities to enjoy the scenery, relax, sit quietly, commune with others, and self-reflect. For early human ancestors, a stroll through the neighborhood might have been a bit more stressful. A run-in with a tiger or a warring tribe causes blood pressure to spike and stress hormones to shift. Are today’s pressures comparable to our ancestors’? Today, and in the past, the places we inhabit and the events we experience influence our bodies and minds in sometimes imperceptible ways.

The city is a place for crowds, technology, traffic, AND nature. Source: wikimedia

Understanding Stress

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“Yet I am here. We are here.” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

04/07/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the National Park Foundation: Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington, D.C. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places. (Photo by Len Spoden)

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“Unconditional love is for us all…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

03/31/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Baltimore, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

 

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“Dearest Park…..keep up the great work…” #Naturesacred #Benchstories

03/23/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Crispus Attucks Development Corporation in Washington, D.C.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

Crispus Atticucks 2-24

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“A wonderful day to love and to listen…” #Naturesacred #Benchstories

03/17/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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“Chronic Illness back again…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

03/10/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at A Nature Place, Legacy Emanual Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places. 

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“…I wonder if I will ever find peace.” #Naturesacred #Benchstories

03/03/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, Maryland.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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TKF Foundation’s Urban Park Vision

02/28/17 | View Comments

On a trip to England in 1995, Tom and Kitty Stoner visited an urban park tucked in the midst of a busy London neighborhood. This serene and protected park was used by many as a place of refuge during World War II. Wooden benches lined the walking path. On the back of many of the benches were the reflections of those who experienced a sense of community and solace in this special place during the worst days of WWII.

It was Tom and Kitty’s belief that if an urban green space could provide such a place of sanctuary at such a difficult time in history, perhaps places conceived and created by urban communities in our time could also provide opportunities for reflection and rejuvenation. From this idea – and with this desire – the TKF Foundation was formed.

Open Spaces Sacred Places, today and in the future

Now over 20 years later, we celebrate 130 “Open Spaces Sacred Places” that demonstrate how real-world civic green spaces function, and their meaning in communities. These TKF-supported spaces, scattered across the United States, exist in communities of need (hospitals, urban centers, natural disaster areas) and arose out of community expression. In addition, the spaces share four central design elements. The design elements arose out of that initial moment with Tom and Kitty, and came to fruition using historic design of sacred spaces, design literature, and community expression.

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    TKF Foundation
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    About Us

    We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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