Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "garden"

Nature Meets Healthcare in Portland, Oregon

11/10/17 | View Comments

Innovative hospitals are responding to a growing desire for less medicalized births.

In hospital settings, stress is inherent among patients, families and healthcare professionals. More than forty years of research and several recent studies of patient groups have found that viewing nature can produce rapid and substantial psychological and physiological recovery from stress and anxiety (Marcus and Sachs, 2014).

The Terrace Garden at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, Oregon provides the Family Birth Center and Cardiovascular Intensive Care unit community a restorative place that nourishes their psychological, physical and spiritual needs.

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Innovative hospitals incorporate garden design

06/10/17 | View Comments

Innovative hospitals incorporate therapeutic garden design into a holistic care approach.

One such place, Legacy Health, combines its traditional medical expertise with the healing power of a four-season terrace garden at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center (EMC) in Portland, Oregon. The Terrace Garden provides the Family Birth Center and Cardiovascular Intensive Care unit a restorative place that nourishes the community’s psychological, physical and spiritual needs.

The 6,800 square-foot open-air garden extends along a glass-walled public corridor on the second floor of EMC. It overlooks an atrium of towering trees, colorful mosaic motifs, and sensory engaging vegetation that comprise the Children’s Garden. The 24/7 public space is a design solution implementing rooftop and accessible garden design strategies, therapeutic garden characteristics, and design patterns to support expectant mothers and their families.

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Share your Secret Garden

12/13/16 | View Comments

The Secret Garden is a classic English children’s novel, published in 1911. It is a story of two children learning to love themselves and others, through the magic of a hidden English garden. The story reveals the human desire for exploration and possession of nature, but also our cycle of birth and rebirth. As the year comes to end, share what is precious and sacred with your friends and neighbors. Share your secret garden. 


“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” -Burnett, The Secret Garden. Source.

Civic Sacred Spaces

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Find Your Secret Garden, Down the Block

09/13/16 | View Comments

“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

Where can play happen?

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.

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A Landscape of Resilience and Perseverance

06/21/16 | View Comments

It has been an exciting year for a group of community gardeners in the Rockaway community of Queens, NY.

Beautifying the area included ground cover plantings.

Beautifying the area included ground cover plantings. Source: Giles Ashford

Last summer we spoke with Renae Reynolds about the progress of this Nature Sacred site, and we continue to see more participation, planting and construction (in partnership with Nature Sacred, Cornell, Drury University, USDA Forest Service, Till Design, Natural Garden Landscape, and NYCHA). This site, a post-natural disaster “Landscape of Resilience“, has proved to be a strong center of community and growth.

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What is community?

03/24/15 | View Comments

Each month 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 March, we celebrate the success and stability borne from community engagement and planning.


What is community? Is it a place, a people, an act?

In many of an instance, and perhaps the most robust, it is all three.

In Oregon, a rooftop healing garden nestled within the Family Birth Center and Cardiovascular Care Unit at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center replaces a hardscape terrace built in the 1970s. A Nature Place provides a space for patients, visitors and hospital staff to heal and restore. The medical center’s doctors and nurses are the constant members of this community; the incoming expectant mothers, newly arrived babies, cardiovascular patients and their families bring the Portland community into the halls of the medical center.

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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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