Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "Green"

Open Voices News Roundup: January 6

01/06/14 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Urban Nature: How to Foster Biodiversity in World’s Cities
“A few years ago in Baltimore County, Maryland, environmental staffers were reviewing a tree-planting proposal from a local citizens group. It called for five trees each of 13 different species, as if in an arboretum, on the grounds of an elementary school in a densely-populated neighborhood. It seemed like a worthy plan, both for the volunteer effort and the intended environmental and beautification benefits. Then someone pointed out that there were hardly any oaks on the list, even though the 22 oak species native to the area are known to be wildlife-friendly. Local foresters, much less local wildlife, could barely recognize some of the species that were being proposed instead…Though it may be too soon to call it an urban wildlife movement, initiatives focused on urban biodiversity seem to be catching on. The U.S. Forest Service, which once laughed off the idea that anything urban could be wild now supports a growing urban forest program.”

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Open Voices News Roundup: December 16

12/16/13 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

‘Wild Urbanism’ in the Middle of Putin’s Moscow
“Just beyond Moscow’s Red Square, past the iconic domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the walls of the Kremlin, a new landmark is planned for Russia’s largest metropolis. In a nod to the city’s increasingly globalized identity, the new landmark will not come solely from the church or government. Instead, it will be a 13-acre park open to everyone and developed by a team of internationally renowned architects best known for designing the glam High Line in Manhattan. Inspired by the ecological diversity of Russia, Zaryadye Park will be the first new park built in Moscow since 1958, rising on a former Jewish ghetto once slated for Stalin’s tallest skyscrapers… Under the vision hatched by Diller Scofido + Renfro and Putin’s administration, free-flowing walkways and permeable pavers will encourage exploration through park areas designed to recall Russia’s varied landscapes of tundra, steppe, forest and wetlands.”

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Mayors for Parks Coalition: Protecting Public Spaces

12/11/13 | View Comments

From Denver, CO to Fort Worth, TX, a new bipartisan coalition is on the rise to help support and protect public parks, trails and green spaces in urban areas. The Mayors for Parks coalition, a project from the City Parks Alliance, is aiming to remind Congress and the White House how critical parks are to urban areas.

The coalition is specifically pushing for reauthorization and robust funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is set to expire in 2015, and is a critical source of funding for city parks in the US. Since its creation in 1965, the LWCF has funded the creation of more than 42,000 state and local parks, playgrounds, urban wildlife refuges, greenways, trails, and other open spaces. But the LWCF has been underfunded by millions of dollars the past few years.

There are five other mayors from cities across the country joining Mayors Betsey Price of Fort Worth and Michael Hancock of Denver in their commitment to protecting urban parks and the funding that keeps them running. The mayors are looking to expand the coalition as they all realize how vital these parks are to the health and happiness of their citizens.

Below is one of the videos release along with the launch of the coalition:

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Open Voices News Roundup: December 9

12/09/13 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Doctor’s orders: Get outside!
“We all know the drill: Get sick. Go to the doctor. Receive a prescription for medicine. Take the medicine until you feel better. But what if, instead of being handed a prescription for medication at the end of your appointment, you instead received a prescription for spending more time outdoors? That’s the premise behind a new Boston-area program piloted by the Appalachian Mountain Club and MassGeneral Hospital for Children. The program, called “Outdoors Rx,” focuses on children 13 years of age and under and capitalizes on the natural resources right in its patients’ backyards. “There’s a growing body of research looking at the benefits of the outdoors on kids. For mental, physical and spiritual health, the outdoors is good for you. It reduces the symptoms of ADD and ADHD, asthma and childhood obesity,” said Pam Hess, Outdoors Rx’s program director.”

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Open Voices News Roundup: December 2

12/02/13 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

How San Francisco Is Changing the Way People Think of Green Space
“Tables and chairs sit neatly arranged on a wooden platform in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. When the sun is shining, customers spill out of cafes and restaurants and crowd onto the platform. But this isn’t just outdoor seating. It’s a park. The platform is part of San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program, a collaboration between the city planning department and a number of other municipal agencies, including the mayor’s office. The program converts squares of pavement into plazas and postage-stamp-sized parks, called parklets. It started four years ago as a kind of experiment and has since become a fixture of civic life in San Francisco.”

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Open Voices News Roundup: November 25

11/25/13 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Expert Urges Following Nature in Urban Design
“To be friendly to the earth, cities like Portland can learn from it. That was the message of a Nov. 15 lecture at the Public Library, sponsored by the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects. There is “boundless opportunity to improve the quality of life for all of us” by designing urban spaces around the environment, said Bill Browning, an internationally known environmental designer whose clients have included the White House and the 2000 Olympic Village in Sydney, Australia. Browning told an audience of more than 50 that those opportunities include biomimicry (designing in a way that mimics nature) and biophilia (using design to enhance human connection to the natural world). In the process of learning from and connecting to her, humans may also end up being a little kinder to Mother Nature.”

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Recommended Reading: Blending Nature and Technology

11/19/13 | View Comments

In today’s world where you can’t navigate day to day activities without the latest technologies, artist Mark Dorf is working to bring the natural and digital together in a way that embraces the beauty of both sides of our 21st century environment. Using digital photography, collaging, 3D rendering and scanning technology, Dorf has created a new series of photographs called “//_PATH” that blend geometric forms with images of nature.

Dorf aims to immerse himself in new environments while working on these photos, but also seeks to display how dependent we’ve become on technology to help us navigate these natural environments. He refers to this blending of nature and digital as a “comparison of languages,” with nature being the most ancient of all languages that helped give way to our new language of modern, digital images.

The foremost goal of his collection of images, according to Dorf, is to help people realize that it is possible to live in harmony between the natural and digital. By bringing the two closer together, people can learn to appreciate balancing both in their lives.

View more of Dorf’s photographs here.

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Open Voices News Roundup: November 18

11/18/13 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Would You Send Your Child to Daycare in the Forest?
“While ensuring children’s safety and wellbeing at all times is absolutely necessary, I think it’s unfortunate that we North Americans are so bound to indoor spaces and the countless costs associated with them. Imagine if we took a lesson from the popular “forest kindergartens” of Scandinavia and northern Europe, where toddlers and preschool-aged kids spend all day outdoors, learning that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” If daycares shifted their focus to parks and playgrounds in urban settings, and forests in rural areas, there would no longer be such a pressing need to pay for an indoor space; childcare workers could be paid better wages; and kids wouldn’t suffer from what Richard Louv has termed “nature deficit disorder” in his fascinating book “Last Child in the Woods.””

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Veterans Day: Helping Military Service Members Heal Through Nature

11/11/13 | View Comments

The invisible wounds of war that take their toll on our veterans’ mental health are difficult for individuals to work through alone. That’s why James McCormick, owner of Raising Cane Farms in Mason County, WV and a retired veteran who happens to be the chairman of the West Virginia Veterans Coalition, is working to start The West Virginia Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Project.

“This project is not a hand out to veterans — it’s a hands up,” said Bob Tabb, senior manager for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. “This is an opportunity for veterans to work together, enjoy the camaraderie with fellow veterans and learn about agricultural practices that will help veterans harvest crops and grow food.”

The project seeks to empower wounded veterans and military personnel through supporting the local agriculture in West Virginia. McCormick connects this to the therapeutic value of working with agriculture and nature.

“Watching life blossom, seeing Mother Nature’s work and getting hands in the soil are great for these veterans,” McCormick said. “It gets them out of their homes and agriculture-based therapy is really helping to heal these people.”

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Open Voices News Roundup: November 11

11/11/13 | View Comments

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

Volunteers Want to Help Healing with Garden Overlook
“With freshly poured concrete, two-by-fours and hammers, Keith Tidball wanted to help to build healing at Cunningham Park. The Cornell University professor was on hand Saturday for a workday for the construction of the Butterfly Garden and Overlook in the northeast corner of the park. Members of the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University, Joplin Parks and Recreation and scores of volunteers showed up Friday and Saturday to help with the work. A multidisciplinary research and design team proposed the “Landscapes of Resilience” project to study the role of open spaces in recovery. Tidball hopes that the project, when completed, will help people affected by the 2011 tornado recover from their grief.”

Community Gardens Encourage Capital Growth

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