Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "design inspiration"

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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Future of Blue Spaces

10/18/16 | View Comments

Nearly all of our human settlements have sprung from nearby water supplies.

A clean and accessible water source allows new villages and cities to grow. Evolutionary biologists would argue that our modern day romance with lake and ocean-views ties back to our original search for such life-giving places. But in today’s rising sea levels and climate change fueled storms, the future of “blue spaces” depends on our relationship and response to the water around us.

A sitting area near the waterfront at a NatureSacred site.

A sitting area near the waterfront at a NatureSacred site.

Several scientists write about the calming effects of waterscapes. A marine biologist-turned-neuroscientist, Wallace Nichols, believes people will more likely care and act to conserve our oceans if they are aware and appreciate the positive feelings we have around water.

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Celebrating Snow in all its Forms

01/26/16 | View Comments

Snow, rain, stormwater & all the opportunities.

Snow days stick in our memories and turn parking lots into community play zones. Images from this past weekend of deers in the streets of D.C., time-lapse videos of snow packed backyards, and children touching the snow for the first time are joyful reminders of our love of impromptu nature.

A Brooklyn child is inspired into a handstand. Source: Several Seconds

A Brooklyn child is inspired into a handstand. Source: Several Seconds

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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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