Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "urban"

Riots, Respite and Renewal in West Baltimore

04/12/17 | View Comments

From the outside, it could be easy to make assumptions about Sandtown-Winchester—the West Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was fatally arrested two years ago today. Vacant, dilapidated homes and boarded-up storefronts tell a candid story—a story of persistent poverty, crime, and misfortune. Yet, if you look closely, bright glimmers of promise and progress dot the urban landscape in some surprising ways.

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Find Your Secret Garden, Down the Block

09/13/16 | View Comments

“Play is something done for its own sake… It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.” – Dr. Stuart Brown, National Institute for Play

Play comes in as many forms as there are people in a city. While we typically associate play with children, there are numerous ways adults bring play into their daily lives. Although there could be innumerable ways to classify play, or not classify at all, a framework helps us imagine the kinds of urban places where community inclusive play might occur. If we were to list forms of play, we might include:

– Children’s play
– Structured and Group Activities, including light activities like tai-chi and yoga
– Individual Athletics
– Informal/Unstructured Activities
– Passive Recreation
– Grass Roots/Ad Hoc Events

Where can play happen?

Parks are the most versatile form of public space when it comes to accommodating a host of activities. American cities have historically consigned play to parks and ignored potential for it to happen elsewhere. By treating play as a kind of exercise, we have missed opportunities to make it an integrated part of our daily lives. Blurring the boundary between streets and parks can make play more accessible and commonplace.

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National Park Service in Cities

08/09/16 | View Comments

August 25, 2016 marks the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.

A thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park. Source: Michael McCarthy.

A thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park. Source: Michael McCarthy.

For at least 11,000 years Native Americans have lived near the headwaters of “Mi tsi a-da-zi”, the Rock Yellow River. Not so long ago in 1872, the U.S. Congress and President Grant established the country’s first national park in this watershed. This grand ecosystem in Wyoming is our beloved Yellowstone– 3,468.4 square miles of lakes, canyons, rivers, mountains, and the largest supervolcano on the continent. Half of the world’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone, and is rightly held to be the first national park in the world, not just the United States’.

After 1872, 35 additional national parks and monuments had been established by several presidents. On August 25th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act into law officially forming the National Park Service (NPS). NPS was established to manage and prevent neglect of these sites, and ensured the health of the now 84 million acres of land, monuments, reserves and historical sites under NPS protection. In 2016, NPS manages 411 national treasures in the form of parks, monuments, preserves, bodies of water, and other historical sites.

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Health and Success of Urban Communities

07/19/16 | View Comments

Nature Sacred supports communities in their efforts to provide equal access to environments that promote health, wellness and well-being.

A healthy environment has historically been defined by the absence of risk; protection from toxins (e.g. air or water pollution), safety from violence, and food security. But more recent definitions require the presence of environmental benefits such as access to nearby nature and tree lined streets. A healthy environment also includes thoughtful attention to neighborhood siting of newly installed green spaces, and planned maintenance for the future health of green space and residents.

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