Open Voices Blog

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

There’s a blindspot in most post-disaster recovery efforts, and it may surprise you

09/13/17 | View Comments

As we watched Harvey enter the US and pummel parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana two weeks ago, and then Irma take aim at the Caribbean and Florida last weekend, our hearts lurched —  seeing both the immediate suffering, and thinking of the long road to recovery that lies ahead.

The images and stories coming out of Houston and the surrounding areas, the Keys, Jacksonville; they triggered memories of Sandy. Knowing what we do, our thoughts quickly turned to resilience and recovery — to what we learned through our work with one community in Queens following that 2012 hurricane.

Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston

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A #Benchstories Haiku #Naturesacred

07/28/17 | 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.

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Balancing the WOW! with the Messy

07/26/17 | View Comments


 


At Nature Sacred, we keep a close eye on the academic research being published around nature, health, and wellbeing. Via Research Shorts, each month we take what we see as some of the most interesting work being published and create a brief summary for our readers — enabling you to be in the know, even if you’re short on time.


 

A Brief Summary of the Research

In a study out of the UK, park visitors were most impressed and excited by colorful flower displays but felt most relaxed among subtle variations in green plantings. Visual cues that a green space provided pollinator habitat, even if ‘messy’, mattered to visitors.

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“Clearly this is someone’s Happy Place…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

07/21/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Baltimore Clayworks in Baltimore, MD.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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What makes great cities succeed?

07/19/17 | View Comments

We attended the New York Times’ Cities for Tomorrow conference last week to find out. I mean, we have an idea or two around this topic (hint: open, urban green spaces), but we were excited to hear perspectives from expert leaders and innovators from around the country. 

In short? Here’s what we took away: successful cities respect urban culture. We’re talking neighborhood flavor, nuance, character, social fabric—these are all attributes that need to be understood, and respected, by leaders and decision-makers. The good, the bad, and the ugly. With an ear to the ground and a genuine understanding, cities can grow and evolve to be safer, stronger and more unified.

We love this sentiment. How uplifting it was to hear mayors, entrepreneurs, designers, and scientists rally behind this logic. We’ll share a few key highlights below—with a particular focus on urban wellbeing and environment.

Authenticity Matters.
Entirely inspiring—and of course entertaining—to listen to George Pelecanos and David Simon, the creative minds behind “The Wire” and the upcoming “The Deuce” talk about the importance of authentic urban storytelling. Amen to that!

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“Trees swim in the wind…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

07/14/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Naval Cemetery Landscape in Brooklyn, NY. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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“How fortunate I am to be alive…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

07/07/17 | 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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“Good medicine…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

06/30/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the healing garden at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Bench stories are collected from the journals found at all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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What happens when you go for a walk?

06/26/17 | View Comments

You’re doing nothing when you walk, nothing but walking. But having nothing to do but walk makes it possible to recover the pure sensation of being, to rediscover the simple joy of existing, the joy that permeates the whole of childhood”. – F. Gros

The French philosopher Frederic Gros doesn’t specialize in the latest scientific advancements, but he recognizes there is a noticeable change in awareness when we walk. What if he is on to something? Researchers would argue that the brain and body is doing much more than simply walking. What is happening behind the scenes?

Our aging U.S. population needs accessible paths.

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“.;..I do not – will not – play” #Naturesacred #Benchstories

06/23/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places at UMBC: Joseph Beuys Sculpture & Rock Garden. #Benchstories come from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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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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