Open Voices News Roundup: March 10

Every week, we bring you the latest news in placemaking, landscape architecture and urban planning, the nature-mental health link, and much more. Check back each week for new roundups and items.

A Deeper Place of Being
“Jan Johnsen’s forty years of practice in landscape architecture has taught her that gardens not only inspire and delight but also impart a sense of well-being, offer respite, and induce feelings of renewal to those who visit and simply sit awhile.  Drawing on historical precedents from many cultures as well as design techniques honed through recent practice, her gardens are deeply nuanced, no matter the size.  In anticipation of the upcoming release of her latest book, Heaven Is a Garden – Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection, published by St. Lynn’s Press, Open Voices spoke with the noted landscape designer about her passion for creating outdoor havens for our spirit.”

Loveable Places are Sustainable
“Influential blogger and advocate Kaid Benfield’s new book, People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities, argues that sustainable places are really just places people love. Think of those places where you most feel like yourself. Would you want anything to happen to them? We feel that way about certain places because they are “people habitats,” designed not for cars but for the every-day person walking or biking. They create an irreplaceable sense of community and are healthy for both people and the environment.”

Platforms or Experiencing Nature
“For millennium, designers of our built and natural environments have positioned the viewer in nature, setting benches in just the right spots with gorgeous vistas, or even creating pavilions or pagodas that offer both a respite from the world and a vantage point for engaging with it. Contemporary landscape architects and architects are creating singular platforms for experiencing nature. In these examples, the biophilic platforms are as appealing as the surrounding nature.”

Take a Stroll on New York’s New High Line

“New York City’s High Line definitely wasn’t the first abandoned rail line to be turned into a park–one of its inspirations came from the Promenade Plantee, built almost 20 years earlier in Paris. But the Manhattan park, opened in 2009, has spawned similar ideas around the world, from a crowdfunded skybridge in the Netherlands to an underground garden in London. And now there might be another elevated rail park in New York City.”