Open Voices Blog

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

Open Voices News Roundup: July 2

07/02/12 | View Comments

Get Green Time to Promote Health
“Don’t just think outside of the box, get outside of the box. Those four walls are causing nature deficit disorder, damaging brain functioning and overall well-being, say experts. Wake up to the wilderness and boost your brain with nature’s restorative qualities, including increased health, happiness and vitality.”

Take a Hike: How to Make Being Outdoors In
As gaming devices supplant games of catch, schools counter nature-deficit disorder with outdoor experiences

Putting Price Tags on Views of Central Park
“What is an address along Central Park worth? A new report finds that the price of the typical apartment sold in buildings that border New York’s most famous swatch of green was more than double that for apartments in surrounding neighborhoods last year.”

Ithaca Mayor Turns Parking into Park

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Using and Reading Open Voices

07/02/12 | View Comments
Welcome to our new blog, Open Voices! We’re thrilled that you’re here. With your participation, this site will become an open forum to discuss the healing power of nature, urban planning, the impact of nature on mental well-being, studies, innovations and much more. Your input, comments and suggestions are always welcome. To get you started, here’s a quick overview of some of the site’s features and how to use them. Read more
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Friday Flowers: A Photo Gallery

07/01/12 | View Comments

Every Friday we publish a new Friday Flower. We ask our readers, as a game, to identify the flower. It’s a fun Friday exercise. Here’s a gallery of some of our Friday Flowers!

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Synopsis of the Planning Grant Projects

03/09/12 | View Comments

The Open Spaces Sacred Places (OSSP) National Awards Program, sponsored by the TKF Foundation, is funding eleven planning grants. These initial projects, and the proposals for full awards, will all integrate the creation of tranquil, restorative spaces in urban environments with rigorous study of the impact of such spaces on user’s well-being and resilience. Each of the OSSP projects align with the TKF Foundation’s mission, treating human health and the environment as an integrated whole. Each project team will create a unique and engaging green space that is designed specifically for a human population having particular needs. Located across the United States, each space will address the challenges of local populations by creating opportunities for recovery, wholeness and celebration, and contribute to the body of evidence about the benefits of nature experience in urban settings. To view the full report click here.


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$5 Million in Grants to Study the Healing and Restorative Power of Nature National Open Spaces Sacred Places Awards Initiative

02/06/12 | View Comments

The TKF Foundation today announced a new $5 million grant program, the National Open Spaces Sacred Places Awards (OSSP Awards), to fund cross-disciplinary teams of designers, research social scientists and community-based organizations to create and study a series of new public green spaces designed with the specific intent to provide spiritual uplift and the opportunity for a deeper human experience through a personal connection to nature. The OSSP Awards program will be the foundation’s final grant making initiative and will effectively spend down TKF’s endowment by 2018.

In announcing the grant opportunity, Tom Stoner, president of the Annapolis, MD-based TKF Foundation said, “In a time when we are more and more surrounded by the built world, beset by ever increasing stress and overwhelmed by technology, the need for open, sacred places in nature is more important than ever. Every neighborhood needs a place where people can be in nature and reconnect to themselves, to the land, and to each other. In order to make this vision a reality, we must document and communicate the transformational impact these spaces can have on individual lives and communities.” Stoner is also the author of the 2009 book, Open Spaces Sacred Places.

By 2030 nearly two-thirds of the world population will live in urban environments. In 2008, more than 80% of the United States population was already there. While more public green spaces are being built every day, a gap exists in the understanding of the impact these spaces have on the human spirit, individual and community well being.

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Team Builder Resource: Attention Interested Applicants

05/16/11 | View Comments

TKF invites teams to come together to address compelling human needs by envisioning and creating Open Space Sacred Place sites in urban areas.

A cross-disciplinary team of the highest caliber will be the lynchpin of each initiative-supported project in order to ensure site and research design are developed and integrated synergistically. Team members are encouraged to work together to develop a holistic approach to the creation and study of a proposed new urban greenspace.

Need help rounding out your team? Please utilize this post to address your project’s team needs; enter your contact information in the comments box below so other potential team members may find you.

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ASTT Healing Garden

04/21/11 | View Comments

The Healing Garden has awakened to spring. The clematis is sending up green tendrils, and the dogwood tree and camellia bush are full of buds. The highbush blueberry is leafing out, and the bulbs planted by clients and garden friends in the fall are ready to burst into flower.

Our garden was designed as a place for reflection and renewal—an outdoor extension of the “safe space” that Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (ASTT) provides for its clients. As one of the only internationally-accredited centers for the treatment of torture survivors in the region, ASTT offers holistic case management and therapeutic services, free of charge, for those coping with the effects of trauma, displacement, and isolation. During the celebration that marked the opening of the Healing Garden last May, one client spoke of the “inner peace” that its beauty inspires. Here, clients can enjoy the fragrant flowers, gather herbs, sit and talk on the patio, or relax on the TKF-donated bench and listen to birdsong and the plashing of the water-source. Many take part in regular garden activities, including planting days, weeding, and watering.

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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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