Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "Landscape Architecture"

Thankful for Smart Environments

11/25/14 | 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. This November we share in recognition of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

A couple of years ago we talked with Tim Beatley, founder of the Biophilic Cities Project, about his aims to explore innovative ways cities can incorporate nature into design and planning. This project is devoted to understanding how cities can become more biophilic, more full of nature, and to telling the stories of the places and people working to creatively build these urban-nature connections. As the site notes:

We need nature in our lives more than ever today, and as more of us are living in cities it must be urban nature. Biophilic Cities are cities that contain abundant nature; they are cities that care about, seek to protect, restore and grow this nature, and that strive to foster deep connections and daily contact with the natural world. Nature is not something optional, but absolutely essential to living a happy, healthy and meaningful life.

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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: 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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A Look into Therapeutic Landscapes: An Interview with Naomi Sachs

10/23/13 | View Comments

Taking time to get in tune with your surroundings and learn to love nature has proven a therapeutic process for many, including Naomi Sachs. Sachs is Founding Director of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network and writes the corresponding blog, but has taken the research on connections between healing and nature a step further in her latest project.

She has been able to translate a personal passion for nature into a new book, co-written by Clare Cooper Marcus, which just came out this week called Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces. The new publication has been long-anticipated and referenced as the “single most comprehensive and authoritative guide to designing healing gardens and restorative outdoor spaces.”

We were able to chat with Naomi around the release of her new book and discuss her work on this project and what she hopes the book can achieve for healthcare and design.

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Recommended Reading: Grantee Project in Joplin, MO Making Progress

09/10/13 | View Comments

This past weekend students from Drury University who are working on a TKF grantee project, the Landscapes of Resilience project in Joplin, MO, finished up interviewing nearly 25 victims of the devastating storm from May 2011. After finishing the in-person interviews, the students will begin transcribing the emotional accounts that will then be featured on large story boards in the new Butterfly Garden and Overlook in Cunningham Park, which is was designed by Drury architecture students.

Survivors like John DeGraff felt compelled to share their stories because the garden is located in the same spaces that the residents of Joplin braved the severely destructive storm. “It means something to me on a personal level that there is something going in there that will tell everyone what we went through, what we are going through,” DeGraff said. “Telling these stories is part of the rebuilding process.”

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Recommended Reading: Growing benefits of Green Walls

08/29/13 | View Comments

There are many innovative ways to introduce more greenspace into the concrete jungles of urban areas. Though there may not always be enough land to cultivate a community garden, landscape architects are starting to think more vertically. Green walls, or a vertical garden, can have a positive impact on cities from improving the aesthetic to numerous environmental and health benefits.

Photo courtesy of the Creative Commons on Flickr, taken by Vincent Brassine

By covering the surface of a building with greenery it can help cut down on the heat conduction of the building, which contributes to the “heat island” effect, raising temperatures both outside and inside the building. This can help lower energy costs and create a more breathable microclimate. Green walls can even be used to introduce fresh produce into urban areas that do not have easy access to healthy options. In Canada, green walls were even brought indoors to help offset Seasonal Affective Disorder caused by long winters.

While green walls may have been around since the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the trend of moving vertical with gardening practices should be revived in the U.S. to help create happier and healthier environments.

>>Learn more about green walls here.

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Designing the Naval Cemetery Landscape: An Interview with the Landscape Architects of Nelson Byrd Woltz

08/06/13 | View Comments

The landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz is dedicated to the integration of respect for nature and design. They will be partnering with the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, one of our National Award winners, on the Naval Cemetery Landscape project to develop a peaceful natural space for commuters along the greenway.

We had a chance to sit down with Thomas Woltz, FASLA, CLARB, Principal of Nelson Byrd Woltz, and Jeffrey Longhenry, Senior Associate on the Naval Cemetery project, to discuss their approach to this particular landscape design.

Thomas Woltz

Open Voices: What role do you envision having in the development of the Naval Cemetery Landscape project?

Thomas Woltz: The role of Nelson Byrd Woltz will be to envision a sustainable landscape design for this important, sacred ground that reveals the many layers of history of the site. It’s a design meant to honor not just the individuals buried there — many of whose names we do not know — but also to honor the cultural traces of this place as a farm, then a hospital burial ground, and a navy yard burial ground, and to remind people that the stories of land live on and uses change.

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Open Voices News Roundup: July 15

07/15/13 | 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.

Designed for Democracy: When Public Goes Private a Park Loses Its Heart
“Nationally, in the wake of urban growth and renewal, there is considerable debate about whether public parks and open space should be given away or sold to for-profit enterprises. Are they valuable civic resources or just places to put stuff?… Well, the issue is real and it involves New York’s 897-acre Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the largest park in the borough of Queens and the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, all originally designed by the influential landscape architects Gilmore Clarke and Michael Rapuano…Now, the city wants to slice off another 13 acres for a $340 million, 25,000-seat (expandable to 35,000 seats) Major League Soccer stadium – and it will go right into the core of the park. Unfortunately, the significance of Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s design, and its designers, is largely absent from news coverage and other discussions.”

10 Reasons Why We Need Vitamin N

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Open Voices News Roundup: June 24

06/24/13 | 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.

NatureSacred.org Announces Inaugural Six Grantees of the National Nature Sacred Awards Program
The TKF Foundation’s National Nature Sacred Awards Program has named the first six projects of national significance to share $4.5 million in funding to study the integration of landscape design and empirical research. The collection of exceptional spaces will demonstrate how nearby nature in the city can provide sacred and spiritual experiences. Each project will combine the creation of tranquil, restorative spaces in urban environments with rigorous study of their impact on users’ well-being and resilience.

Can Urban Planning Rescue Detroit?: The Hopes, Fears and Possibilities of the Detroit Future City Plan

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Open Voices News Roundup: May 20

05/20/13 | 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.

Landscape Designer Margie Ruddick Brings a New Meaning to Green Design
“Nature is probably the last word that comes to mind when most people think about urban design. That’s not the case for landscape designer Margie Ruddick, though. For the past 25 years, she has created parks, gardens and waterfronts that blend ecology with city planning.

In New York City, home to many of her works, Ruddick has transformed Queens Plaza by merging plants, water, wind and sun with the city’s infrastructure, and designed a 2.5-acre park along the Hudson River in Battery Park City out of materials recycled from other parks in the area. Her most recent project took nature indoors at Manhattan’s Bank of America Tower, where she created a winter garden with four tall sculptures made of thousands of ferns, mosses and vines. This “Urban Garden Room” was the first ever permanent installation of a living sculpture.”

The Murky Ethics and Uncertain Longevity of Privately Financed Public Parks

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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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