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.”

A Dose Of Nature Helps City Dwellers Fight Their Need For Instant Gratification

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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.”

Prince George’s children learn where their food comes from at Hard Bargain Farm

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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.”

Buena Vista Park – Green Space both Tamed and Wild

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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.”

Michigan: Leslie Science & Nature Center Teams with Ann Arbor Hospitals to Help Patients Heal

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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.”

A New Focus on Healthy Communities

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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.””

Are More Downtown Parks in Ann Arbor’s future?

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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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Open Voices News Roundup: November 4

11/04/13 | 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.

Research Reveals Behavioral Impact of Investment In Parks
“Investing in parks could more than triple the amount of exercise taken according to new research. The study by outdoor play equipment specialists Proludic, examined the impact on communities of investing in play, sports and fitness facilities and revealed that on average people using the parks increased their level of active play or exercise by 376% as a result of the improvements. This equated to an extra 3 hours 21 minutes of activity every month or 1.6 days of exercise each year…The study found that in both areas activity levels increased for all age ranges, with average visits to the parks tripling (from 3 to 9 visits per month) and the amount of time spent during each visit almost doubling (from 13.5 to 25.5 minutes per visit).”

Are Urban Green Spaces Doomed?

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Open Voices News Roundup: October 21

10/21/13 | 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.

Reconnecting City Citizens with the Environment
“Going back to the 19th century, when poor housing, sanitation and overcrowding caused cholera outbreaks and tuberculosis, the relationship between environment and health was undeniable. Today, emerging research is reminding us of that relationship, suggesting that access to green spaces can reduce health inequalities and improve psychological wellbeing…For many, it’s not a case of reconnecting with nature but of making that first connection…As urbanites have lost skills such as gardening, wood working and wildlife knowledge – where do we start?”

Small Efforts Can Boost Use of Public Parks

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Open Voices News Roundup: October 7

10/07/13 | 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.

Redesigning New York’s Hidden Public Spaces to Create A More Resilient City
“It’s a little known fact that some 5.3 million square feet of “leftover” space courses through Manhattan, largely wasted. It’s street-related filler space–the concrete medians in the middle of streets, the odd-shaped traffic medians–that few people think about, but it totals up to be the equivalent square footage of about 92 football fields…What if some of the more generous central medians throughout New York’s street system were turned into green infrastructure: parklets that have been keenly designed to absorb and funnel storm water; generate solar electricity; and recycle food waste, which is another matter that Mayor Bloomberg is championing these days in the spirit of saving roughly $100 million a year by diverting organic residential waste from landfills.”

Of Goats And Gardens: Making Sense Of Urban Agriculture In LA

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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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