In memory of the lives that were lost, saved, and changed forever in the attacks on September 11, 2001, here is a review of Bill Thompson’s recently published book, From Memory to Memorial: Shanksville, America, and Flight 93. Thank you, Lisa Horne, for this review(more…)
Guest blog post
September 10, 2017
September 8, 2016
Collaborative and Compassionate Design – Guest post & book review by Lisa Horne of Therapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces(more…)
May 31, 2016
Landscape Architect Dan Mallach contacted me after he finished his MLA thesis, “The Folktale Journey in Healthcare Facility Landscapes,” and I suggested that he write a guest blog post on the subject. If you’re interested in the thesis, please leave a comment!
“The Hero’s Journey as Healing Journey: A Transformational Path for Healthcare Facility Landscapes” by Dan Mallach, RLA
“A healing is a spiritual journey” – Lewis Mehl-Madrona
In order to promote mental relaxation and physical recovery, many therapeutic gardens at healthcare facilities feature sense-pleasing designs with achievement/reward paradigms. While such designs have been shown to improve clinical outcomes, a design framework based on the landscape features of the archetypal Hero’s Journey of folktales may heighten their effectiveness, such that an individual may achieve a state of health that has been described by the World Health Organization as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Joseph Campbell and others have described the successive “stages” common to the folktale journey. Protagonists travel a metaphoric road, and in doing so, encounter a world that reflects, and stimulates, a transformative process of inner travel.
In a typical story, the Hero begins his or her journey in a familiar location such as the village square. Following an interpersonal conflict or other communal challenge, the Hero becomes lost in the forest. The Hero wanders, and may meet a guide who points to a literal path forward, and may offer advice to help resolve the prime conflict. The Hero must travel to a mountaintop– but first a river must be crossed and other tasks completed.
March 3, 2015
This excellent book review of ‘Birthright’ is by Lisa Horne, ASLA
As the keynote at the 2013 national American Society of Landscape Architects annual meeting and expo in Boston, Stephen Kellert gave a provocative presentation for the profession. “Biophilia” is a relatively new concept in design and Kellert’s recent work Birthright gives a heartwarming survey of ideas with relevancy to design and theory.
Birthright provides a basis for incorporating nature into our lives. Kellert leaves classifications of nature open-ended and defines biophilia as a love of life. We have an innate desire for nature, which is “a birthright that must be cultivated and earned” (Kellert xiii). This attitude neither advocates a return to an Arcadian past nor forecasts apocalyptic doom. Instead, he asserts that humans will recognize their own self-interest and benefit from investing in the environment. An audience of academics, leaders, policy makers, and professionals interested in biophilia will appreciate the pace, text, and reasoning. (more…)
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.
July 11, 2014
Kevan Busa first contacted me in August of 2012. He was in his last year as an undergraduate in landscape architect at SUNY-ESF, and had been excited about the upcoming semester abroad program in Barcelona, Spain…until he was diagnosed with Leukemia. When he emailed me, he was in his fourth out of five rounds of chemotherapy, and was scheduled to be in Buffalo for three months to get a bone marrow transplant. He wrote, “I talked to my school and doctors and i think that i am going to be doing an independent study of healing spaces while i am there.” Seriously? You plan on doing research while you recover from chemo and a bone marrow transplant? Wow. And he did! His research was subsequently published in the June, 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture magazine. I asked him to write a guest post for the TLN Blog, and he graciously agreed. The post is below.
Looking back at by far the hardest year of my life, I have realized the potential that I have to share my information with the professional world and especially people interested in healing spaces. There is more information being added every day that will help so many people in the future and am honored to be adding my research and experience to the Therapeutic Landscapes Network.
I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and went through a Bone Marrow Transplant within the past year. There was a lot to take in when I got sick and to think about, especially life. Being a landscape architecture student at the State University of New York: College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the topic of healing spaces from within a hospital setting was always on my mind. I went through chemotherapy rounds as the world around me was enjoying summer and the outdoors. All I wanted to do was to be outside when I wasn’t getting treatment.
July 10, 2014
Landscape engineer Nicsanu Marcela recently posted a photo on our TLN Facebook page with an image of raised flower beds and this caption: “First therapeutic garden in Romania!” That was pretty exciting. I emailed her to ask whether she’d like to do a guest blog post, and she agreed. Here is her post:
The first therapeutic garden in Romania opened its doors in June 2014, at Mocrea Psychiatric Hospital in Arad County. This first garden opened the way for horticultural therapy, a healing method used in almost some psychiatric hospitals in Western Europe and the USA.
Boston Children’s Hospital’s Prouty Garden under threat of demolition. Guest post by Clare Cooper Marcus
September 17, 2013
The Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital has, for generations of patients, family members, and staff, served as a much-loved retreat from the clinical atmosphere inside. The garden was created in 1956, sponsored by Mrs. Olive Prouty whose two children had died in the hospital. Now it is under threat of demolition as the hospital looks for space to expand on its very urban site.
A petition to save the garden has already garnered over 6,500 signatures, but they need more! Please sign and help spread the word. Newspaper articles and radio reports (see, for example, WBUR and The Boston Globe) have taken up the story to plead for the retention of this irreplaceable green oasis.
A Scientific American article last year called the Prouty Garden “one of the most successful hospital gardens in the country.” Though though constructed long before our research-based knowledge of the critical issues in hospital garden design – it is almost perfect as a restorative space in healthcare. (more…)
June 13, 2013
Can you imagine a city without any parks? The recent mass (literally – they are happening all over the country) protests in Turkey, sparked by the government’s plans to raze the only remaining park in Istanbul, is a powerful indicator of people’s need for green space (click here for a good overview).
Yesterday I posted a fascinating New York Times Blog article, “Urban Trees as Triggers, From Istanbul to Oregon,” on our Facebook and Linked In groups for discussion. Filiz Satir, our TLN Blog Events Editor, wrote this response:
So, I have been following the events in Istanbul and Turkey with great interest. (My family is from Turkey.) What started out as a peaceful protest two weeks ago in opposition to construction of a shopping mall and the razing of park in the heart of Istanbul Turkey – quickly transformed into a countrywide political protest against the policies of governing AK Party and Prime Minister R.T. Erdogan. However, the original protests in the famous Gezi Park were about the public staking a claim on and fighting for one of the last remaining open spaces in this hub of Istanbul – truly a labyrinth of a metropolis.
I am nervous for what might happen in the next 8 to 10 hours as the PM issued an ultimatum earlier today – to shut down protesters in the park. This mini-documentary is compelling for showing Turkish civil society becoming politically engaged through their activities in and around Gezi Park, Taksim Square http://youtu.be/9hqeC4L7of8 via @youtube
What do you think of all of this? Please leave a comment here or on our Linked In group.
Filiz Satir, in addition to being our terrific Events Editor, is the author of the beautiful blog Nearby Nature: Lessons From the Natural World. She is a enior communications professional, technical writer, and storyteller with a track record for delivering institutional communications programs for a variety of public and private organizations. Thank you, Filiz!
January 3, 2013
“Food insecurity can have wide-ranging detrimental consequences on the physical and mental health of adults (and) more vulnerable populations…Lack of access to a nutritious and adequate food supply has implications not only for the development of physical and mental disease, but also behaviors and social skills.” — Feeding America, U.S. hunger-relief charity
Food gardens are healing gardens
Guest post by Filiz Satir
Families with limited incomes often lack the means to put fresh, nutritious food on the table. In the “land of plenty” a stunning 1 in 6 adults, and 1 in 5 children suffer from poor nutrition and struggle with hunger.
In addition to food assistance programs, food banks and other hunger relief groups, American cities are witnessing a growth in urban agriculture and associated non-profits working to fight food insecurity. Programs that support urban and suburban food production are providing low-income families with the skills and tools to grow fresh, local and healthy food. One such group is Seattle’s Just Garden Project that builds home gardens for eligible families living 200 percent below the poverty line in King County, Washington.
“We are spreading the use of household gardens to help end hunger, improve day-to-day food security and decrease food-related health issues in lower income families,” says Stephanie Seliga, manager of Just Garden Project (JGP). Now in its third year, JGP builds 30 kitchen gardens a year for eligible low-income families and vulnerable groups. The recipients’ participation in the garden “build outs,” shifts their personal experience with food from one of being a consumer only to being a producer.