Open Voices Blog

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

“We are starting over. This is our new life….” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

12/16/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Arc of Prince George’s County in Largo, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places. 

arc-12-16

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Share your Secret Garden

12/13/16 | View Comments

The Secret Garden is a classic English children’s novel, published in 1911. It is a story of two children learning to love themselves and others, through the magic of a hidden English garden. The story reveals the human desire for exploration and possession of nature, but also our cycle of birth and rebirth. As the year comes to end, share what is precious and sacred with your friends and neighbors. Share your secret garden. 

Source.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” -Burnett, The Secret Garden. Source.

Civic Sacred Spaces

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“…The world has a new warrior with passion, heart, and power!” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

12/09/16 | 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. 

childrens-peace-garden-11-02-16

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“I am remembering Jason who died long ago…” #Benchstories #Natursacred

12/02/16 | View Comments

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

childrens-peace-garden

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Reclaim Quiet, Civic Sacred Space

11/29/16 | View Comments

We are bombarded with sensory input everyday, all the time. Car horn blasts, background cell-phone conversations, car exhaust, and digital screens wherever our eyes may wander. Constant stimulation is harmful to health. Urban residents need community spaces that serve as buffers from the sights and sounds of a city; elevating health and well-being for all.

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

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

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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

At a very general level, Native Americans were hunters and gathers, but also developed farming practices. Depending on the local ecosystem and distinct tribal practices, Native Peoples in North America domesticated corn, tomatoes and potatoes. They hunted local game, or gathered tubers, greens, berries and shoots. Practices included cultivating according to the season, rotating crops, or using “slash-and-burn” techniques. What is common across the diversity of Native practices is a longstanding “sacred value” of sustainable traditions and respect of the land. Indigenous environmental management practices of the Menominee in modern day Wisconsin, British Columbian coastal tribes, the Lakota People of the Dakotas, and the sprawling confederacy of the Iroquois People are discussed in a 2010 book “The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature”.

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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.

aamc-11-18-16

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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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    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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