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TKF Foundation’s Urban Park Vision

02/28/17 | View Comments

On a trip to England in 1995, Tom and Kitty Stoner visited an urban park tucked in the midst of a busy London neighborhood. This serene and protected park was used by many as a place of refuge during World War II. Wooden benches lined the walking path. On the back of many of the benches were the reflections of those who experienced a sense of community and solace in this special place during the worst days of WWII.

It was Tom and Kitty’s belief that if an urban green space could provide such a place of sanctuary at such a difficult time in history, perhaps places conceived and created by urban communities in our time could also provide opportunities for reflection and rejuvenation. From this idea – and with this desire – the TKF Foundation was formed.

Open Spaces Sacred Places, today and in the future

Now over 20 years later, we celebrate 130 “Open Spaces Sacred Places” that demonstrate how real-world civic green spaces function, and their meaning in communities. These TKF-supported spaces, scattered across the United States, exist in communities of need (hospitals, urban centers, natural disaster areas) and arose out of community expression. In addition, the spaces share four central design elements. The design elements arose out of that initial moment with Tom and Kitty, and came to fruition using historic design of sacred spaces, design literature, and community expression.

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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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