Open Voices Blog

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

“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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“…not telling time but living, really, really, really being what they are…” #Benchstories #Natursacred

02/17/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Leon Wolf 4th Street City Park in Annapolis, Maryland.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

Leon Wolf 2-17

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Mind and Body in a Nearby Quiet Space

02/14/17 | View Comments

This post continues last week’s introduction to the health benefits of nature encounters. For greater detail and citations, please check out the new Nature Sacred Monograph “The Sacred and Nearby Nature in Cities”.

We are approaching nearly 40 years of research about the linkages between nature experiences, human disease prevention, and health promotion. As more people move into cities, nearby nature spaces that provide mental and physical health benefits are needed more than ever. Recent research reveals the effects urban noise and distractions have on our minds and bodies, and suggests ways in which nearby tranquil spaces alleviate stress.

Loud urban sounds can be harmful and irritating. A quiet green space might be your answer.

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“I am claiming my Healing…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

02/10/17 | View Comments

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

Providence

 

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Protect Nature and Be Protected

02/07/17 | View Comments

We are approaching nearly 40 years of research about the linkages between nature experiences and human disease prevention and health promotion. Outdoor spaces that offer sanctuary and support relaxation and reflection provide mental and physical health benefits. When we commit to protecting and conserving our nearby nature spaces, we ultimately protect and heal ourselves.

The western medical community dismisses the . . . . sacred experience in healing or health because it [is assumed it] cannot be measured. [Yet] we are approaching scientific standards [and] the ability to measure our [body’s] response[s] . . . .
If people have a desire for heightened experiences, just like a need for food or water, why not begin to understand how?
—Integrative Health Physician
 
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“I survived” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

02/03/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Landscape of Resilience: Butterfly Garden and Overlook in Joplin, Missouri.  Landscape of Resilience in Joplin was built by survivors of the F5 tornado that hit the town in 2011. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.joplin 1-03

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“…They sing to the dead.” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

01/27/17 | 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.

naval cemetary 1-27

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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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