Landscapes for Health

Memorial gardens breathe new life into communities

racer-street. Photo by Filiz Satir

For days after the Cafe Racer shooting, grief-stricken Seattleites made their way to the building with flowers, candles, and gifts. Photos by Filiz Satir

Guest post by Filiz Satir

On May 30, 2012, a disgruntled Seattle man opened fire inside Seattle’s Café Racer, eventually killing four of the five people he shot. Later that day, the gunman made his way to Seattle’s First Hill where he shot and killed a Seattle woman and stole her vehicle. Hours later, he fatally shot himself.

For days after the May 30 shooting in Seattle that took the lives of four Café Racer patrons, grieving friends, family, and strangers made pilgrimage to the lime green and gray brick building. Floral bouquets, a foot deep, blanketed the length of the building. Taped notes and letters, poems and drawings covered the windows and doors. Artists and musicians held day processions and evening vigils to remember their friends.

Racer Street front door. Photo by Filiz Satir

Friends, family, and neighbors turned Racer Cafe’s exterior and parking strips into a makeshift memorial.

Daily memorializing  and nightly rituals were a spontaneous, necessary, and natural way for a community to express its grief and pay respects to five individuals who were gunned down inside the Seattle café and performance venue.  What happened in the University District that May morning was random, brutal, and utterly senseless.  There are no words to adequately describe the shooting deaths or the depth of pain caused by this act of violence.  For the community, the healing process will be ongoing.  For those closest to the deceased, recovering will be a life-long endeavor.

How does a community and, in particular, the friends and family of Café Racer victims recover from the horror of multiple shooting deaths?  Perhaps the wisdom of conservationist and author Rachel Carson gives us a place to start.  In The Sense of Wonder, Carson writes:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

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Nature and Well-Being: Lecture series at the Bloedel Reserve

Reflecting pool, Bloedel Reserve. Photo by Henry Domke, http://henrydomke.com

Reflecting pool, Bloedel Reserve. Photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

During June, Puget Sound’s Bloedel Reserve will put the spotlight on nature and well-being by hosting a series of lectures. Throughout the month, experts from diverse disciplines will explore the unique  relationship between nature and humans, and the healing and therapeutic qualities of landscapes and gardens.

Our founder Prentice Bloedel was fascinated with the relationship between people and plants, often writing eloquently on the subject, as he designed the gardens and landscapes of The Reserve. In June, we are bringing together experts from many disciplines to explore the unique relationship between nature and humans, and the healing and therapeutic qualities of landscapes and gardens.

The Bloedel Reserve is a public treasure that sits on 150 acres of natural woodlands and landscaped gardens just a short ferry ride away from downtown Seattle. In addition to interconnected paths, a Japanese garden, a moss garden, and a reflection pool, visitors will find the Bloedel’s former estate home. The Reserve was created by Prentice and Virginia Bloedel who resided on the property from 1951 until 1986. A man ahead of his time, Prentice Bloedel had an abiding interest in the relationship between people and the natural world. The primary mission of The Reserve is to provide a tranquil, restorative and emotionally evocative experience of nature.

See this past Guest TLN Blog Post by Sally Schauman for more on The Bloedel Reserve as a Therapeutic Landscape.

For more information on this month’s Lecture Series, visit The Bloedel Reserve web site.  Summer hours are extended for June, July and August: Tuesday and Wednesday, 10am-4pm; Thursday through Sunday, 10am-7pm. A short description of the lecture series follow. For a complete description of the talks and other classes at The Reserve, see the summer bulletin. To register for all the lectures that range from $10 to $15 per session, call 206-842-7631, or click on the Brown Paper Tickets.

The Bloedel Reserve Lecture Series for June is as follows:

Friday, June 8 at 4:30pm
Every Step a Healing Step (lecture & guided meditative walk)
Carolyn Scott Kortge, author, The Spirited Walker & Healing Walks for Hard Times

Sunday, June 10 at 2:00pm
The Restorative Power of Plants
Patty Cassidy, RHT, Horticultural Therapist & Gardener for Legacy Health Systems, Portland

Wednesday, June 13 at 10:00am
Healing Garden Designs
Daniel Winterbottom, RLA, FASLA, professor, Landscape Architecture, University of Washington

Thursday, June 14 at 2:00pm
Landscaping for Privacy: Innovative Ways to Turn Your Outdoor Space into a Peaceful Retreat
Marty Wingate, author & garden designer

Saturday, June 16 at 4:30pm
Therapeutic Design Adaptations for the Home Garden
Mark Epstein, registered landscape architect

Sunday, June 17 at 4:30pm
Art in Nature: The Therapeutic Effects of Nature Photography-A Personal Story
Charles Needle, photographer

Tuesday, June 19 at 10:00am
Leave No Child Inside: Reconnecting Children with Nature
Martin LeBlanc, founder, Children & Nature Network; Sr. VP, Islandwood

Friday, June 29 at 7:30pm
“Echoes of Creation” (Video screening & talk)
Jan Nickman, film & television director & cinematographer

Saturday, June 30 at 3:00pm
Restoration & Celebration — The Created World Around Us (lecture & guided meditative walk)
Christie Lynk, professor of psychology, Seattle University

3rd International Conference on Geographies of Children, Young People, and Families

Tour guide, Peru. Photo by Gabriela Aguero from the Children Youth and Environments Image Collection

Tour guide, Peru. Photo by Gabriela Aguero from the Children Youth and Environments Image Collection

Geographies of Children, Young People, and Families

July 11-12, 2012, Singapore

Children’s geographies is that branch of human (cultural) geography which deals with the study of the places of children’s lives. In July, the 3rd International Conference on Geographies of Children, Young People and Families will take place in Singapore at the National University of Singapore. The conference is open to academics, postgraduates, and locally-based youth and childhood practitioners and workers.

Human geography and its subset of specialties focus on cultural norms and components and their variation across spaces and places. It focuses on describing and analyzing the ways language, religion, economy, government, and other cultural phenomena vary or stay the same from one place to another, and on explaining how humans function spatially. As in many other social science disciplines, children have not been a particular focus of concern in geography. There is a considerable body of literature dating to the 1970s that includes studies of children spatial cognition and mapping abilities as well as their access to, use of and attachment to place.

To learn more about the conference, registration, and deadlines for paper submissions, visit the conference web site. The organizers will offer substantial fee reductions for postgraduate students and part-time employees. Specific queries may be sent to Tracey Skelton (geobox7@nus.edu.sg), Conference Chair and Organiser.

“Healthy Environments Across Generations” this week!

Healthy Environments Across Generations conference

This week! Healthy Environments Across Generations conference

June 7 – 8, 2012
New York Academy of Medicine
New York City, NY

Addressing the environmental health aspects of how we live, eat, work, play, and socialize throughout life, and how we can transform our environments to promote health and prevent disease.

Please join us for a participatory conference that will bring together leaders and innovators from multiple sectors to:

  • Catalyze innovative approaches towards a systems-based approach to health across the lifespan;
  • Identify key intervention points and crosscutting environmental solutions to help reverse rising disease trajectories;
  • Develop intergenerational programmatic and policy recommendations/models that reflect an integrated approach to wellness; and
  • Create an ongoing network for collaboration to build healthier communities for all.

This conference is not an end unto itself, but a stepping stone for building a health-focused, multi-generational movement. We invite you to bring your energy and ideas to New York to help create our collective future.

Relevant to professionals and others working in or interested in the areas of health, food, nutrition, built environment, natural resources, environmental and economic justice, aging, or anyone interested in promoting health and preventing disease at all life stages.

Register now online at the New York Academy of Medicine website (www.healthandenvironment.org/news/conference/intergen2012).

 

Seattle is home to EDRA’s 43rd Annual Conference

Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA. Photo by Henry Domke, http://henrydomke.com

Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA. Photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

EDRA Annual Conference: “Emergent Placemaking”
May 30 – June 2, 2012
Seattle, WA

Can mankind embrace a more enlightened commitment to human ecology? Do we know how to design and create communities in which human potential, in harmony with nature, can be fully realized?

These are questions that Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation in Seattle, will pose at the 43rd annual Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) conference in Seattle, May 30 to June 2. Hayes will present the keynote address, “Urban Design to Nurture Human Potential” at the four-day, session-packed conference.  The conference theme, “Emergent Placemaking,” speaks to both the potentiality and continuity in our cities, communities and neighborhoods. In addition to several plenary talks, the conference features workshops, paper presentations and mobile sessions to such Puget Sound destinations as Bloedel Reserve, a 150-acre estate devoted to offering the public “a tranquil and refreshing experience in nature.”

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Community Engagement & the Built Environment conference

Head Start Preschool, Seattle, WA                    Photo by Filiz Satir

Head Start Preschool Play Yard, Seattle, WA. Photo by Filiz Satir

Community Built Association Conference: May 30-June 2, 2012

The Community Built Association (CBA) will hold its annual conference in Portland, OR, May 30 – June 2. The interdisciplinary gathering is open to all those interested in community engagement through the lenses of art, play, nature, and the built environment.  The conference features presentations and panel discussions related to play environments, gardens and green spaces, public art, and community-engaged architecture. The conference at Portland’s Tabor Space, 5441 S.E. Belmont Street will  include:

  • Presentations and discussions from leaders in the field of community-based practice;
  • Hands-on workshops that will engage participants’ creativity while they contribute something of lasting value to the local community;
  • Tours of local “place-making” sites around Portland, where volunteers have shaped community spaces with their own hands over time; and
  • Informal networking and sharing sessions with inspirational community builders from Portland and around the country.

Artists, architects, builders, organizers, gardeners, planners, and others are all welcome. To learn more and register for the conference, visit the CBA Web site: http://communitybuilt.org/conference/portland_2012.

 

Happy Arbor Day!

Tree and pond, Stonecrop Gardens, Cold Spring, NY. Photo by Naomi Sachs Happy Arbor Day, 2012!

It has been over 135 years since J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day. His simple idea of setting aside a special day for tree planting is now more important than ever.Arbor Day Foundation

The New York Times just published a great opinion piece by Jim Robbins, titled “Why Trees Matter.” I never know which articles non-subscribers can access, so please accept my apologies if access is restricted. Below are some excerpts, just in case.

We have underestimated the importance of trees. They are not merely pleasant sources of shade but a potentially major answer to some of our most pressing environmental problems. We take them for granted, but they are a near miracle. In a bit of natural alchemy called photosynthesis, for example, trees turn one of the seemingly most insubstantial things of all — sunlight — into food for insects, wildlife and people, and use it to create shade, beauty and wood for fuel, furniture and homes.

This paragraph on “forest bathing” is particularly appropriate for our Network:

In Japan, researchers have long studied what they call “forest bathing.” A walk in the woods, they say, reduces the level of stress chemicals in the body and increases natural killer cells in the immune system, which fight tumors and viruses. Studies in inner cities show that anxiety, depression and even crime are lower in a landscaped environment.

Below are some past TLN Blog posts about the role of trees in restorative landscapes:

If you can plant one thing, plant a tree

Planting the healing garden: Trees, please!

Forget the chocolate, gimme a tree

Plant a tree: A truly “green” gift

See the Arbor Day Foundation’s website for more information and ideas about how to celebrate this day: www.arborday.org/arborday

 

Earth Day 2012 – Sustainable and therapeutic landscapes

Jupiter Medical Center Photo by Michiko Kurisu, courtesy of Studio Spout.

The retention pond at Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, FL also serves as large water feature, viewable from the Cancer Treatment Center. Photo by Michiko Kurisu, courtesy of Studio Spout.

Happy Earth Day!

Human health cannot be treated separately from the natural environment.
– Hippocrates, 4th Century BCE

We at the Therapeutic Landscapes Network believe that the best landscapes for health are those that benefit people and the planet. In the most recent issue of Research Design Connections, an article by Naomi Sachs titled “Landscapes for Health: Therapeutic AND Sustainable Landscapes in the Healthcare Setting,” is featured in the Expert’s Corner.  If you subscribe to RDC, you can log in and read the full article on their website. This article will also become a chapter in a book on therapeutic landscapes by Naomi Sachs and Clare Cooper Marcus, to be published by Wiley in 2013.

Below are some excerpts from the article:

Complementary Approaches
Sustainable and therapeutic landscapes complement each other in myriad ways. Facilities have the opportunity to “feed two birds with one seed” by meshing the two design philosophies. Landscape architects are the architect’s and engineer’s best friend here, because they are trained to see the “big picture” as well as details that will best benefit the site and the people served. In many cases, one strategy comes first and the other follows. (more…)

Portland Memory Garden celebrates 10 years

Wild ginger and ferns. Photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

Photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

Portland Memory Garden Founders Day Weekend, June 2-3, 2012

In celebration of the Portland Memory Garden’s 10-year Anniversary, the Friends of the Portland Memory Garden will sponsor an educational panel discussion at Good Samaritan Hospital, Saturday, June 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Susan Rodiek, Associate Director of the Center for Health Systems & Design at Texas A&M University, will present the keynote address.

The Friends also plan a “garden” open house, June 3, noon to 3 p.m. The event will include guided tours, free nature crafts, music, and refreshments. The seminar and garden celebration are open to the public, though registration is required for the Saturday seminar. All seminar proceeds will go to support annual maintenance of the Portland  Memory Garden, located off S.E. Powell at 104th Avenue in Ed Benedict Park.

The garden is designed to meet the special needs of those with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and to provide respite for their caregivers. The garden is one of eight “memory gardens” in the U.S., and one of only two built on public land.

For more information contact Brian Bainnson at 503-256-8955 or visit www.portlandmemorygarden.org/PMG/Events.

Recruiting Garden Volunteers: If you’d like to get your hands dirty in the Memory Garden they have two teams that meet on the first and third Saturday of every month, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Contact Patty Cassidy (1st Saturday) 503-239-9174 and Julie Brown (3rd Saturday) 503-367-5188.

Health and Well-being and the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) – Guest post by Jerry Smith

Smartville Gardens, A SITES Pilot Project. Designer, The Fockele Garden Company
Smartville Gardens, A SITES Pilot Project. Designer, The Fockele Garden Company

Landscape Architect Jerry Smith wears many distinctive and distinguished hats, one of which is working on the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES). He was recently asked to write an introduction to one of the Human Health and Well-being Credits of SITES and floated a draft by me, a non-SITESian, for comment. I, in turn, coerced Jerry, a non-Blogger, into posting the introduction on the TLN Blog.  As Jerry says, “We both graciously submitted to peer pressure and long-winded threats.” The intersection of sustainability and landscapes for health is – strangely – not discussed all that much. Jerry is one of the few landscape architects I know who is solidly committed to both, and SITES is at the vanguard of blending these two important design considerations.

Health and Well-being and the Sustainable Sites Initiative

For those not familiar with SITES, it is a partnership made up of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the United States Botanic Garden and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of the University of Texas at Austin for the purpose of developing a sustainable design rating system for all landscapes, with and without buildings.

Divided into five areas of focus (Hydrology, Soils, Vegetation, Materials and Human Health and Well-being), SITES follows the USGBC LEED-based point system format awarding points or Credits to landscape design projects for achieving sustainable metrics and benchmarks.  The Human Health and Well-being (HHWB) Credits distinguish SITES from other sustainable toolkits by acknowledging that people are a part of, not apart from, the environmental equation and has developed a section of design metrics that address the human health attributes of site design.

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