Open Voices Blog

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

Nature and Design Welcomes the Sacred Experience

09/27/16 | View Comments

Based on 20+ years of funding community green spaces, the TKF Foundation developed a design template for open, nature-based spaces. In addition to the healing power of nature itself, every TKF Open Space Sacred Place includes four design elements that combine to invoke a sense of sanctuary, encourage reflection, provide solace and engender peace. These design elements include a Portal, a Path, a Destination and a Surround. Each element serves an important purpose in the overall design of the space.

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“Good People…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

09/23/16 | 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.

crispis-atticus-9-23

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Holistic Care on The Green Road

09/20/16 | View Comments

The grocery store, your city buildings, the trees lining the main street in your neighborhood, the leaves in your driveway. The role of these everyday physical spaces and places are often taken for granted. Yet, by now we’ve established that an environment can support health and healing, or hinder it. The most straightforward example, of course, could be the hospital. For hundreds of years humans have built and cultivated complex environments intended to support healing. The design of healing spaces has changed throughout history, often according to values, beliefs, scientific knowledge, and technology.

Early temples dedicated to the Greek god of healing, Asclepius, were built in pastoral settings with mineral springs, bathing pools, gymnasiums, and healing gardens.

Dedicated temples can be seen today in the Greek countryside of the once city-state of Epidaurus. This World Heritage Site dates from the 4th century BCE and is a remarkable example of design devoted to healing. Here people would come to worship, lodge, recreate, and heal. The use of a garden or hot springs as a healing place is also evident in other early Asian and Roman cultures.

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“There are hatchlings in the holly tree…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

09/16/16 | View Comments

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

umms-9-16

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Find Your Secret Garden, Down the Block

09/13/16 | View Comments

“Play is something done for its own sake… It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.” – Dr. Stuart Brown, National Institute for Play

Play comes in as many forms as there are people in a city. While we typically associate play with children, there are numerous ways adults bring play into their daily lives. Although there could be innumerable ways to classify play, or not classify at all, a framework helps us imagine the kinds of urban places where community inclusive play might occur. If we were to list forms of play, we might include:

– Children’s play
– Structured and Group Activities, including light activities like tai-chi and yoga
– Individual Athletics
– Informal/Unstructured Activities
– Passive Recreation
– Grass Roots/Ad Hoc Events

Where can play happen?

Parks are the most versatile form of public space when it comes to accommodating a host of activities. American cities have historically consigned play to parks and ignored potential for it to happen elsewhere. By treating play as a kind of exercise, we have missed opportunities to make it an integrated part of our daily lives. Blurring the boundary between streets and parks can make play more accessible and commonplace.

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“I want to stop doing drugs and stay stopped. Help me…” #Benchstories #Naturescred

09/09/16 | 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.

intersection-of-change-9-09

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“I came here to think about love…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

09/02/16 | 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 9-01-16

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“I’ve done a lot of bad things to myself…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

08/26/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore, Maryland.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.Franklin Sq 8-25

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What is Sacred?

08/23/16 | View Comments

In the past few decades a surge of scientific research provides evidence connecting human health with the experience of nearby nature in cities. data_slide_c

The experience of “being in nature”, personal and deeply felt, commonly evokes feelings of transformation and contemplation. Literature and traditions recount the importance of nature in personal realizations of inspiration, deeper connections, mindfulness, and extended social connections.

This personal experience is historically described as “sacred”.

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“I hope the childless woman got her wish…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

08/19/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the American Psychological Association.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

Am Psych Association 8-19

 

 

 

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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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