Open Voices Blog

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Act on Your Gratitude

11/24/15 | View Comments

This week we are reminded to express gratitude for the abundance of friends, family, and food we may take for granted. Last week we discussed the benefits of mindfulness in green spaces and the personal outcomes that experience provides.

What about the role urban green spaces play in bringing your friends and family together? Providing places for respite, recreation, and community connection, urban green spaces have the potential to improve individual and community well-being and wellness in multiple ways. In addition to physical environment benefits, participating in urban greening programs (e.g. planting a tree) is associated with community empowerment and social cohesion.1

Green spaces explicitly designed to support family and community activities fosters healthy and sustainable communities. Park preference research suggests large shaded picnic areas, play equipment, water features, sanitary facilities and open-air vendors or cafes increase attractiveness of parks for users who value community over individual uses.2 In addition, culturally significant gardens and planting strengthen a sense of community and tradition for minority or new Americans.3

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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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