Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "Q&A"

Cultivating Resilient Spaces in the City: A Q&A with Dr. Erika Svendsen

09/11/13 | View Comments

Open Voices is taking the opportunity to get to know some of the different team members from our National Awards grantee projects. You can find previous interviews with other team members here.

When one thinks of the U.S. Forest Service, you wouldn’t necessarily think of New York City. That is not the case for Dr. Erika Svendsen and her colleagues at the New York City Urban Field Station. Her work focuses on how systems of environmental stewardship “shape new forms of governance, collective resilience, sacred space and human well-being,” which made her a perfect partner for the Landscapes of Resilience project.

Drawing on past research on the city, people and the environment, Svendsen and her colleagues will be studying the ways in which the people of Joplin, MO and New York City have each turned to using greening as a mechanism for recovery after natural disasters. We had the opportunity to sit down with Erika and learn more about her work in New York for the project.

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Resilient Design: An Interview with Nancy Chikaraishi and Traci Sooter

08/22/13 | View Comments

Open Voices is taking the opportunity to get to know some of the different team members from our National Awards grantee projects. You can find previous interviews with other team members here.

Neither Nancy Chikaraishi, AIA, or Traci Sooter, AIA , LEED AP,  are strangers to applying their skills as architects to help their local community. Both based out of Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture, the team has helped instill the values of giving back in their students through projects helping to rebuild the  nearby city of Joplin, MO following the devastating tornado in 2011.

Nancy Chikaraishi

While working together to facilitate the grant for the Landscapes of Resilience project, Chikaraishi and Sooter are making the major moves toward beginning to turn the designs for the park in Joplin into a beautiful and healing reality. The two experienced architects and professors took the time to talk with us on the plans for this project and how it has been progressing thus far.

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Learning a Love of Nature in the City: A Q&A with Sara Hobel

08/15/13 | View Comments

Open Voices is taking the opportunity to get to know some of the different team members from our National Awards grantee projects. You can find previous interviews with other team members here.

Building on her previous experiences as an advocate for the benefits of nature, such as leading up the Urban Park Rangers in New York, Sara Hobel continues to help New Yorkers find the wilder and greener side of the city as the executive director of the Horticultural Society of New York.

Sara Hobel at the Urban Agricultural Conference this year.

Her latest efforts involve partnering with Milton Puryear and the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative in planning and executing the Naval Cemetery Landscape project, one of our National Award grantees. Hobel took the time to speak with us on the ongoing plans for the project and her work to educate city-folk on the restorative qualities of nature.

Open Voices: Can you give us some context on the partnership between the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and the Horticultural Society of New York?

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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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Biophilic Cities: A Q&A With Tim Beatley

01/15/13 | View Comments
"We are an increasingly urbanized planet, so we've got to imagine how urbanites can have that close connection that they absolutely need with the natural world." An interview with the founder of the Biophilic Cities Project, about why nature in urban areas is more important today than ever before. Read Read more
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Protecting Urban Ecosystems: An Interview with Timon McPhearson

09/13/12 | View Comments

Timon McPhearson came to our attention when we stumbled across his wonderful article for The Nature of Cities, about the important potential social and ecological benefits of vacant lots in cities. Turns out he’s a bit of an expert in the area — McPhearson is a professor of Urban Ecology at The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center in New York City where he teaches urban ecology, sustainability and resilience. Ideally, he works to help people better understand, protect, and improve nature in urban areas.

We spoke with McPhearson about his work; the state of urban nature today and in the future; and how to best incorporate nature into your daily routine, even if you live in a city. Read on for our full interview.

Open Voices: You’re a professor at the New School, where you study ways to better design, restore, and build resilient and sustainable social-ecological systems. Can you tell us more about your work and studies and what you teach at the New School?

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Creating Urban Density With Reflective Spaces: A Q&A With Green Developer Jonathan Rose

08/22/12 | View Comments

Back when we were at the Greater & Greener Conference, we attended a panel by green real estate developer Jonathan Rose. Our ears perked up when he mentioned incorporating a labyrinth into one of his housing projects — as you might know about us, we love labyrinths and believe that quiet, nature-filled spaces in urban areas are necessary for residents’ mental health and for unifying a community.

Rose has a storied past — he’s led the way in developing green affordable housing and continues to focus on green building and transportation, as well as mental and phsyical health of the residents in his buildings. We sat him down for a Q&A where we discussed how to incentivize green, healthy developments; why we need more reflective spaces as urban density increases; and much more.

Open Voices: You founded your company in 1989. What moved you to address green development issues before it became a popular movement?

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Making Real, Large Changes in Your Community: A Q&A with Erin Barnes of ioby

08/15/12 | View Comments
How can you be the opposite of a NIMBY? Join ioby (in our backyard), an online platform that funds local environmental and community projects. We talked to one of ioby's founders about how neighborhoods can green vacant lots, get support from donors to make green changes, and more. Read more
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Health Benefits of Urban Greening: A Q&A with Kathy Wolf

07/26/12 | View Comments
In this interview, we talk about health benefits and necessities of urban greening, urban landscapes, why trees aid cities in everything from transportation to shopping, and much more. Read more
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“Places of Urban Sanctuary for Humans”: A Q&A with TKF’s Tom Stoner

07/16/12 | View Comments
Tom Stoner and his wife Kitty

Tom Stoner and his wife Kitty

After a momentous visit to England in 1995, Tom Stoner, and his wife, Kitty, returned to the United States with a commitment to building urban greenspaces in cities across the United States. Their foundation, the TKF Foundation, was born in 1996, and since then they’ve helped fund and create more than 130 open spaces in the Baltimore-Annapolis-Washington region with the Foundation’s support.

To kick off the launch of Open Voices, we sat down with Tom Stoner to discuss a variety of topics — from why he started his foundation, to how communities can better work together to create urban greenspaces, and much more. Enjoy!

Open Voices: You’ve said the vision for the TKF Foundation and Open Spaces Sacred Places was inspired by a trip to London, where you saw a park that served as a refuge for people during World War II. How did that experience help spark this idea for you?

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    TKF Foundation
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    About Us

    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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