Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "equality"

The changing shape of parks

07/26/16 | View Comments

Within cities, the location and shape of new green space is deceivingly complex.

City leaders increasingly take cues from public health research and advocates in recognizing the known benefits of nature spaces. But why now? It could be a combination of scientific progress and migration shifts.

The U.S. Census reports that about 80% of the U.S. population lives in cities and towns. More than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities, and further concentration in urban areas is forecast.

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Health and Success of Urban Communities

07/19/16 | View Comments

Nature Sacred supports communities in their efforts to provide equal access to environments that promote health, wellness and well-being.

A healthy environment has historically been defined by the absence of risk; protection from toxins (e.g. air or water pollution), safety from violence, and food security. But more recent definitions require the presence of environmental benefits such as access to nearby nature and tree lined streets. A healthy environment also includes thoughtful attention to neighborhood siting of newly installed green spaces, and planned maintenance for the future health of green space and residents.

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Providing Nearby Nature for Everyone

06/28/16 | View Comments

A nearby nature space is relevant, useable and attractive when the community and designers collaborate.

People prefer natural environments with water features, large trees, “wild” plants, and appropriate landscape design. This is compared to built environments, and is found among people regardless of nationality or culture.

Research indicates there are some differences between ethnic and cultural groups in their preferences for nature experiences. Park-use patterns, preference for park settings, and constraints on park use can vary. Culturally-dominant ideas of how to interact in nature are expressed in park planning and design, potentially overlooking preferences of minority users and limiting the experiences of all. The highlighted points below are supported and expanded in the Nature Sacred publication: Environmental Equality: Providing Nearby Nature for Everyone

–The longer it takes to reach a park is likely to mean you’ll visit it less, but also means you’ll spend more time in the park to make it worth your while. For those not within walking distance from a green space, public transportation can be a barrier to visiting an urban park, not to mention trying to get outside the city. Consequently, persons with low incomes and minorities may suffer disproportionately from poor transportation and land-use decisions.

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What Green Spaces Reveal: New Orleans 10 Years On

08/25/15 | View Comments

In our Open Voices blog we share insight from leaders in our communities who are advancing what it means to have sacred, open green spaces in our cities. This month we examine the need for equal access to healthy urban spaces.

A decade ago New Orleans faced dramatic floods and destruction following Hurricane Katrina. This landmark of a city, famed for its culture and vibrancy, faced institutional and structural obstacles across all scales. Civic participation bloomed in response to the need for everyone to pull together.

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Risks and Benefits in our Urban World

08/18/15 | View Comments

In our Open Voices blog we share insight from leaders in our communities who are advancing what it means to have sacred, open green spaces in our cities. This month we examine the need for equal access to healthy urban spaces.

TKF_environmental-equality-infographic_final1

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Equitable Urban Green Space Initiatives

08/11/15 | View Comments

In our Open Voices blog we share insight from leaders in our communities who are advancing what it means to have sacred, open green spaces in our cities. This month we examine the need for equal access to healthy urban spaces.

At times, a community recognizes the absence of nature, and works for change. At the other end of the scale a broader planning program for green spaces and sustainability provides a framework for future action. Jill Wrigley and Timothy Beatley exemplify leaders working at the local and global level to bring green spaces into our communities:

Case Study: Irvington Peace Park in Baltimore, Maryland

Credit: Irvington Peace Park

Credit: Irvington Peace Park

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Green Spaces for All to Enjoy

05/26/15 | View Comments

In our Open Voices blog we share insight from leaders in our communities who are advancing what it means to have sacred, open green spaces in our cities. In May, we examine the design elements that contribute to meaningful green spaces in our cities.

When planning for green spaces in a community, collaborating with potential users and residents is important for sustainable and relevant community green space systems. When we consider specific design elements of green spaces, research indicates there are some differences between ethnic and cultural groups concerning their preferences for nature experiences. Park-use patterns, preference for park settings, and constraints on park use can vary by race and ethnicity. It is important to recognize that culturally-dominant ideals of nature often are expressed in park planning and design, potentially overlooking preferences of minority users and limiting the experiences of all.

Below we present a few findings on differences in green space preference. But do take note, that when given a choice, people prefer natural environments with water features, large trees, “wild” plants, and appropriate landscape design. This is compared to built environments, and is found among people regardless of nationality or culture.

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Environmental Equality Infographic

09/09/14 | View Comments

Click here to download PDF

TKF-environmental-equality-infographic-final

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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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