Open Voices Blog

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

Thanksgiving Agriculture

11/24/16 | View Comments

This Thanksgiving, many in the United States gather for a shared meal of traditional foods. Although regional variations exist, typical foods include turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pecans, green beans, and cranberries. Perhaps more interesting than the menu itself is North America’s history of traditional foods, and the agricultural practices that keep us fed, up to the present and into the future.

Native American and First Nation Agriculture

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“…I felt scared but this is a pretty garden and it makes me feel better” #Benchstories, #Naturesacred

11/18/16 | View Comments

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

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Metro Nature in Kyoto, Japan

11/15/16 | View Comments

In present day Kyoto, a mix of contemporary metro nature such as street trees, mixed-commercial green space, urban shrines, and indoor office vegetation exist alongside traditional and ancient gardens. It is these contemporary metro nature spaces that can provide design examples for urban planners and community members.

Traditional Japanese gardens are known for detailed design patterns and embedded cultural and spiritual symbolism. Garden design arose in Japan in the 7th century, borrowing ideas from Chinese design. For hundreds of years, gardens were built for aristocrats, and more recently for Zen Buddhist meditation practice. Not until the 16th century did the commoners ‘tea garden’ design develop for use in everyday life. Japanese garden design styles today also include promenade gardens and small courtyards. In this decade, researchers and landscape designers in Japan, North America and Europe collaborate to understand human perception and health response within Japanese gardens.

Kinkaku-ji, “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, is a World Heritage Site and Zen Buddhist temple. Along with a tragic history of fire and ruin, it represents an iconic temple with several architectural styles, embellishment, and an enveloping ‘promenade’ garden. It is physically set apart from the urban Kyoto landscape and invokes a feeling of surround and awe. It is a traditional example of architecture and garden design.

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“You never know how strong you are…” #Naturesacred #Benchstories

11/11/16 | View Comments

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

baltimore-washington-med-center-11-10-16

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“Please stand by me and give me the strength…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

11/04/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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“I pray for all the drug dealers to give them wisdom…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

10/28/16 | View Comments

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

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Open Spaces Sacred Places in Urban Environments (Infographic)

10/27/16 | View Comments

 

Scroll down for full size sharable infographic.

Scroll down for full size sharable infographic.

For more than 25 years, TKF has partnered in the creation of  130+ Open Spaces Sacred Places, most of which are found in urban environments. From housing projects to hospitals, TKF Open Spaces Sacred Places provide a place for visitors to reflect, find solace and immerse themselves in the healing power of nature. Our latest partner projects seek to scientifically prove the inherent value and need for nearby, open access to urban nature.

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“I come here to relax…” #TKF Foundation #Naturesacred

10/21/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Stadium Place – Thanksgiving Place Labrynth in Baltimore, Maryland.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.stadium-place-10-20-16

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Future of Blue Spaces

10/18/16 | View Comments

Nearly all of our human settlements have sprung from nearby water supplies.

A clean and accessible water source allows new villages and cities to grow. Evolutionary biologists would argue that our modern day romance with lake and ocean-views ties back to our original search for such life-giving places. But in today’s rising sea levels and climate change fueled storms, the future of “blue spaces” depends on our relationship and response to the water around us.

A sitting area near the waterfront at a NatureSacred site.

A sitting area near the waterfront at a NatureSacred site.

Several scientists write about the calming effects of waterscapes. A marine biologist-turned-neuroscientist, Wallace Nichols, believes people will more likely care and act to conserve our oceans if they are aware and appreciate the positive feelings we have around water.

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    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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