Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "older adults"

Supporting Elder Health in our Communities

07/07/15 | View Comments

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 month we examine the health needs of older Americans and the array of healthy experiences found in Nature Sacred spaces.

As the older U.S. adult population continues to increase and diversify, there is a need to provide various ways to understand and promote wellness. Eighty percent of our U.S. population live in cities and towns. As the population continues to concentrate in urban areas we must seriously consider the role of urban environments in our everyday health. For our older members of society, generally those 65 and older, the health benefits of urban green spaces can play a meaningful role in quality of life.

Never before have so many people lived for so long. Life expectancy has nearly doubled over the last century, and today there are 35 million Americans age 65 and older. The aging of the population—in past decades and in the foreseeable future—presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
— Director, National Institute on Aging

elder from ee paper

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Green Spaces for All to Enjoy

05/26/15 | View Comments

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 May, we examine the design elements that contribute to meaningful green spaces in our cities.

When planning for green spaces in a community, collaborating with potential users and residents is important for sustainable and relevant community green space systems. When we consider specific design elements of green spaces, research indicates there are some differences between ethnic and cultural groups concerning their preferences for nature experiences. Park-use patterns, preference for park settings, and constraints on park use can vary by race and ethnicity. It is important to recognize that culturally-dominant ideals of nature often are expressed in park planning and design, potentially overlooking preferences of minority users and limiting the experiences of all.

Below we present a few findings on differences in green space preference. But do take note, that when given a choice, people prefer natural environments with water features, large trees, “wild” plants, and appropriate landscape design. This is compared to built environments, and is found among people regardless of nationality or culture.

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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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