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: September 18

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.
How A City Changes The Evolution Of All The…

Open Voices News Roundup: September 11

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.
What is the Meaning and Role of the “Sacred”…

Open Voices News Roundup: September 4

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.
Un-Paving the Way to Successful Outdoor Education in Urban…

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: September 18

09/18/14 | 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.

How A City Changes The Evolution Of All The Nature Around It

“Most people reflexively think cities don’t contain nature, but in fact, they are complex ecosystems that just happen to be shaped by different evolutionary forces than an untouched forest or pristine lake. A set of 14 studies packaged together in the journal Biogeochemistry this month shows this in force, by examining the way cities are all over the United States–from Boston, Massachusetts to Tucson, Arizona- are shaped in the same consistent ways by the presence of modern urban societies.”

‘Sea Tree’ Is The Floating Green Oasis That Could Bring Nature To The City

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Open Voices News Roundup: September 11

09/11/14 | 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.

What is the Meaning and Role of the “Sacred” in the Design and Management of Urban Green Space and the Building of Cities That are Both Green and Livable?

“Cities all around the world have made rapid (and astounding) progress in their integration of sustainability design and green infrastructure into development standards.  Can the innovators that are driving these changes imbed a sense of civic sacred within urban landscapes? Planners and elected officials typically shy away from the concept of sacred when discussing green infrastructure, parks, and open space systems.  Sacred is an ambiguous word, often interpreted as aligned with faith or spirituality and not an appropriate subject in the public realm.  And sacred can also imply exclusion, by either the social or cultural group that acknowledges a sacred place, or in being a landscape that is distinctive and away.  Yet as our cities grow and lives get busier people seem to be craving the respite and opportunity for mindfulness that a nearby sacred space can offer.”

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Environmental Equality Infographic

09/09/14 | View Comments

Click here to download PDF

TKF-environmental-equality-infographic-final

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Open Voices News Roundup: September 4

09/04/14 | 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.

Un-Paving the Way to Successful Outdoor Education in Urban Settings

“Mothers sit and laugh together, shaded by newly planted trees. They look on while their children play and explore in dirt and grass at the new Outdoor Nature Explore Classroom of Warren Village in the heart of Denver, Colorado. A U.S. Forest Service grant of $100,000 and a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation made the outdoor classroom possible. This new outdoor space is un-paving the way to outdoor education opportunities for urban children in Denver, planting the seeds of inspired outdoor learning through the use of nature play spaces. In contrast to the previous hardened playground with sticky asphalt and hot metal slides, children of Warren Village are now immersed in a nature play zone of trees, shade, dirt, flowers, plants, stumps, stones and water.”

Native Forests Need Proper Preservation from Urban Sprawl

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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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NatureSacred.org

TKF Foundation
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Tel: 410.268.1376

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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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