An opinion piece by pediatrician Robert Zarr and TLN Founding Director Naomi Sachs was published yesterday in The Hill, titled “Prescribing nature for improved health makes an economic case for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.” Here are a couple of snippets, and you can read the full piece here.(more…)
Benefits of nature
December 17, 2018
January 25, 2018
September 11, 2016
My colleague, Dak Kopec, asked me to write a piece on healing gardens for his forthcoming book, Environmental Psychology for Design, and he has graciously given permission to share it with you here on the TLN Blog. Dak is Director of Design for Human Health at Boston Architectural College and has written many books and other publications on the role of the environment in human health. Thank you, Dak!(more…)
December 30, 2014
For the last Therapeutic Landscapes Network Blog post of 2014, we want to share an inspiring story of one of many schools that that is “greening” its schoolyard. The six gardens and overall ecoliteracy program at Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland, CA were spurred by Mary Schriner, who interviewed for a position there. When they asked her why she wanted to work at Cleveland Elementary, she responded, “Because your school looks like a prison yard, and I’d like to change that.” And she has changed both the school and grounds, and the lives of those who learn and teach there. One of the first conversations with her students began with the question, “What is a weed?” The project has been a tremendous success. Says Schriner, “I’ve had many, many moments when I’ve almost wanted to cry because I can feel the community happening, not because of me, but because of the natural world that we’re trying to create conditions for at the school. There’s been so much magic around the garden that I just have a lot of gratitude.”
August 22, 2014
I first met Joan Vorderbruggen at the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) meeting in 2013 in Providence, RI. She presented an expanded version of this lovely post, and I was very moved. Sometimes we researchers and designers get so bogged down in trying to analyze and quantify everything that we forget the more human and – dare I say it? – even the spiritual dimension. Joan’s and Lisa’s words, along with images from Joan’s garden, get to the heart of it. Many thanks to both of them for sharing here.
The healing garden down the street
By Joan Vorderbruggen and Lisa Overby-Blosser
The spring of 2012 held little hope for my neighbor, Lisa, wife and mother of four teenagers. Lisa had just been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and was given a year or less to live. Asking me if she could spend time in my backyard garden, she felt time in a peaceful setting would help her deal with the upcoming chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other stresses.
Over that summer, Lisa spent a great deal of time walking the 5-house distance to my yard, sometimes barely able to put one foot in front of the other. Still, she persevered, settling in to journal, sketch, and just be in the moment. While I encouraged her to come and go as she pleased, I was happy that at times, she would join me on my deck and, without any prompting, speak of how the garden and natural world supported her during that time. I asked if I could share her words with others.
Lisa’s words (italicized) fit neatly within the framework of Stephen Kellert’s Biophillic Design Elements (below). According to Kellert, these elements stem from an intuitive human-nature connection, where people feel that spending time in nature can help them heal mentally, physically and spiritually. The Biophilia hypothesis assertion is that because humans evolved with nature, they feel comforted by nature (Kellert and Wilson, The Biophilia Hypothesis, 1993).
The idea of prospect is primarily about being able to control your view, to scan the horizon and understand where you are in relationship to your surroundings.
In the garden you have control – of where you sit, where you look, what you choose to focus on – whether it’s a wide view or something really small… There are so many choices available to you. The fact that you can make a choice of something can be healing.
Refuge allows us to feel safe, sheltered and protected. In my garden, Lisa chose to sit under a grapevine trellis. She speaks more in metaphor of her feelings of refuge.
The garden is always welcoming; no plants fall over or trees drop their leaves in disgust or empathy when I took my hat off exposing my baldness…. The garden accepts where your body and emotions are at that moment in time.
August 27, 2013
Many evidence-based researchers, Dr. Roger S. Ulrich among them, have found that purposefully-designed gardens in healthcare settings improve health outcomes for patients. But did you know that there is a quantifiable relationship between the presence of trees and public health? In his research, Dr. Geoffrey Donovan has found that to be the case. Both Ulrich and Donovan will talk on the Health Benefits of Nearby Nature, Thursday September 12 , 2013 at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.
Ulrich has found that patients who view “representations” of nature can also find relief from stress and discomfort. For example, heart surgery patients at a Swedish hospital intensive care unit experienced reduced anxiety and less need for pain medication by looking at pictures depicting trees and water. Over the years, Ulrich’s work has received many awards and has directly impacted the design of billions of dollars of hospital construction, and improved the health outcomes and safety of patients worldwide. The Sweden-based professor and former director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University, developed a Theory of Evidence-Based Design; his theory has become influential as a scientifically grounded guide for creating successful healthcare facilities. Ulrich will discuss his recent work involving the effects of single- versus multi-bed patient rooms on infection transmission; the negative impacts of hospital noise on patients and nurses; and how nature, gardens, and art can lessen pain, stress, and healthcare costs.
Ulrich’s co-presenter, Dr. Donovan, is a research forester with the USDA Forest Service who has quantified a wide range of urban-tree benefits. These have ranged from intuitive benefits— for example, reduced summertime cooling costs—to less intuitive benefits such as crime reduction. His recent findings on the relationship between trees and public health, for instance, show that mothers with trees near their homes are less likely to have underweight babies. He has also shown a connection between trees destroyed by invasive pests and a higher human death rate from cardiovascular and lower-respiratory disease.
Register online for Health Benefits of Nearby Nature.
August 23, 2013
International Conference in Copenhagen and Malmö, September 2013
No matter the weather or the season, Nordic children can always be found playing outdoors. The upcoming conference, Nordic Adventure: Connecting Children with Nature, will feature keynote addresses and workshop presentations on the myriad opportunities for connecting children to nature in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The conference takes place September 10-13, 2013 in Copenhagen and Malmö. The registration deadline was August 20 (sorry, we’re a little behind on our blog posts) but if you act fast, you can probably squeeze in there.
Scandinavian nations have long since worked with adventure and nature playgrounds, school gardens and green school grounds, forest and outdoor preschools, education for sustainable development, and many other nature-based initiatives for children. The English-language conference will be a mixture of plenary sessions, presentations, site visits and social experiences.
For details and information on registration, contact the planning committee: email@example.com, and visit the conference site.
April 2, 2013
April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day, and what better way to mark it than to showcase Natasha Etherington’s great new book, Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs.
There is scant literature and research in this field, so Etherington’s book is a welcome and timely addition.
The TLN encourages everyone interested in this subject to also join our Austim and Special Needs group on Linked In.
Here’s a blurb about the book from Jessica Kingsley Publishers:
A garden or nature setting presents the perfect opportunity for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and special needs to learn, play and strengthen body and mind. This book empowers teachers and parents with little gardening know-how to get outside and use nature to motivate young learners.
Using a mindfulness approach, Natasha Etherington presents a simple gardening program that offers learning experiences beyond those a special needs student can gain within the classroom. The book outlines the many positive physical, cognitive, sensory, emotional and social benefits of getting out into the garden and provides specially adapted gardening activities for a variety of needs, including those with developmental disabilities and behavioural difficulties, as well as wheelchair users. With a focus on the therapeutic potential of nature, the book shows that gardening can help reduce feelings of anxiety, provide an outlet for physical aggression, build self-esteem through the nurturing of plants and much more.
With this practical program, teachers and parents can easily adopt gardening activities into their schedules and enjoy the benefits of introducing children with special needs to nature and the rhythms of the seasons.
And here, also from JKP, is an interview with the author.
Special Needs Book Review also did a great write-up about the book and an interview with the author, which you can find HERE.
March 9, 2013
Therapeutic Landscapes Network Director Naomi Sachs, along with her fabulous colleagues Alberto Salvatore and Jerry Smith, will be part of the ICONS and Innovators Webinar Series next week on the action-packed day of Thursday, March 14. Theirs is one of three webinars that provide an interactive experience with an exclusive line-up of healthcare thought leaders offering fresh perspectives to inform work strategies. All three webinars are listed below:
“Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Wellbeing: Implications for Designing Healthy Spaces for Healthcare Settings”
Dr. Esther Sternberg
Can stress make you sick? Can belief help healing? Does the place and space around you affect your health? These are the questions that Dr. Sternberg explores.
9:00 am PDT/12:00 pm EDT.
For a TLN interview with Esther Sternberg, click here.
“The Case for Access to Nature”
Naomi Sachs, ASLA, EDAC
Alberto Salvatore, AIA, NCARB, EDAC
Jerry Smith, FASLA, EDAC, LEED AP
Discover the proposed revisions to the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities that will allow regulatory agencies to more strongly support the inclusion of meaningful outdoor spaces in future projects.
11:00 am PDT/2:00 pm EDT.
“The Impact of Color – Research Reviewed and Redefined”
Rosalyn Cama, FASID, EDAC
Eve Edelstein, MArch, Ph.D, AssocAIA, FAAA
Sheila Bosch, Ph.D, LEED AP, EDAC.
Become familiar with research about color and lighting with perspectives from the neuroscience of vision, the psychology of perception, and include sociocultural and functional effects that have impact on design and user outcomes.
1:00 pm PDT/ 4:00 pm EDT
TUITION PER WEBINAR:
Individual: $90.00, Organization: $180.00
WEBINAR SERIES DISCOUNTS:
purchase 5 webinars – get 10% off
purchase 10 webinars – get 15% off
purchase 15 webinars – get 20% off
For information and to register for one or all webinars here. Hope you can join us!
October 18, 2012
A new film takes viewers on a journey from our evolutionary past and architecture’s origins to the world’s most celebrated buildings in a search for the architecture of life. The documentary, “Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life” by Stephen Kellert and Bill Finnegan will be featured October 23 at New York City’s AIA Center for Architecture.
Kellert and Finnegan’s film explores innovative ways of designing the places where we live, work, and learn, and will be introduced by Stephen Kellert. As one reviewer put it: “The film plainly states that bad design is part of the cause of environmental degradation and that good design is part of the solution.”
The producers describe their film in this way:
“Biophilic Design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn. We need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. The recent trend in green architecture has decreased the environmental impact of the built environment, but it has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world, the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development.”
The film screening, followed by a panel discussion, is co-sponsored by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the Yale Alumni Association of New York. For a sneak peek of the film, view the trailer now. If you have questions, please contact Georgia Silvera Seamans or visit this film screening site.
The book, Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, edited by Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, and Martin Mador is also excellent.
What: Documentary, “Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life”
When: Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 12:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Where: AIA Center for Architecture, Hines Gallery, 536 LaGuardia Place, NYC