News and conversations about the growing evidence of the healing power of nature and green development in cities
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.
– Robert F. Kennedy Jr., SXSW Eco Keynote
TKF’s NatureSacred writer Elizabeth Housley brings an update from the 2016 SXSW Eco conference happening right now October 10-12 in Austin, TX. SXSW Eco is a space for business leaders, investors, innovators and designers to share progress and ideas of emerging economic, environmental and social change.
The conference is an example of the emerging “4th Industrial Revolution” where technology becomes the backbone of human interaction with physical space. A strong theme of environmental equity runs through the conference presentations. Most are optimistic but self-critical. Attendees live vote during a design competition between urban strategy + civic engagement projects, listen to on-the-ground strategies to fight diseases and water access via pop-up architecture, and attend several workshops on corporate responsibility. Keynote speakers are game-changing leaders from the government and private sector. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Kate Brandt and Bill Nye among the most thrilling.Read more
Today’s Bench Story comes from the healing garden at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Bench stories are collected from the journals found at all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.
If you are one of the vast majority of modern workers you are sitting at a desk looking at this screen. Are you daydreaming about a lush paradise? Stand up, stretch your fingers and toes, and look out the window.
Do you see street trees and the occasional landscaped bush? A bubbling fountain or a rooftop garden? Or is your environment built of concrete plazas, brick walls, and a parking lot?
Balancing work and personal goals is an ongoing task. Claiming your weekend, taking care of your mind and body, and spending time with friends and family is vital. During your regular ‘ole Tuesday afternoon, taking a small break can also be beneficial.Read more
Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Leon Wolfe/4th Street Park in Annapolis, MD. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more
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
“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
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.Read more