George Washington University graduate students Julie Melear, Janet Conroy, and Mary Sper’s landscape design for HARVEST HOME, a Wounded Warrior home built for a veteran, has won the Gold Award in outdoor design from the Association for Professional Landscape Design (APLD). The house was designed and built by college students competing in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, which challenges collegiate teams to design solar powered houses that are cost effective, energy efficient, and attractive.
July 25, 2014
June 11, 2013
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) annual meeting and EXPO will take place from November 15 -18 in Boston, Massachusetts. This year’s theme is “Gaining Ground.”
Of particular interest to Therapeutic Landscapes Network members will be the following sessions, though many more may be as well.
The general session will be a talk by notable author and scholar Stephen Kellert, “Biophilic Design: People and Nature in the Modern World.”
Saturday, 11/16, 8-9 am
Our connection to the natural world is part of our biological inheritance. Dr. Stephen R. Kellert, a pioneer in biophilia, will set forth an account of nature’s powerful influence on the quality of our lives. Weaving scientific findings together with personal experiences and perspectives, Dr. Kellert explores how our humanity is deeply contingent on the quality of our connections to the natural world. He is the Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and Senior Research Scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. An award-winning author, educator, and environmental scientist, Dr. Kellert has written more than 150 books and articles and has also completed a 60-minute documentary video, “Biophilic Design: the Architecture of Life.” I highly recommend his new book Birthright.
Landscapes of Therapy at Boston Area Teaching Hospitals
Field Session (tour), Friday, 11/15, all day
Boston-area teaching hospitals are world leaders in patient-centered care, research, and treatment. Visit five recent therapy gardens designed for these institutions to fit in tight urban situations: two interior gardens, two roof-deck gardens, and one waterfront site designed both for therapy and rising sea levels. Yes, this is the same day as the 3 education sessions listed below. Happens every year. We wish ASLA could do something about this but apparently, they can’t.
Translating Research into Restoration: Exterior Environments for Wounded Warriors
Friday, 11/15, 8:30-10 am
Presenters: Landscape architects Brian Bainnson, Connie Roy Fisher, Jerry Smith
This session will look at healing gardens and sustainable sites designed to help heal veterans with PTSD and provide respite for their families and caregivers. Peer-reviewed research, design guidelines, and specific design strategies will focus on three of the country’s most prestigious military medical centers.
Therapeutic, Restorative, or Enabling: Are All Healing Gardens Designed the Same?
Friday, 11/15, 10:30-12 pm
Presenters: Landscape architects Jack Carman and Elizabeth Messer Diehll
As the prevalence of healing gardens grows so do the terms used to describe them, making it difficult to make valid distinctions. Using existing examples, this session presents a framework that describes the purpose, design focus, and potential users of each type of healing garden.
Playing It Too Safe?
Friday, 11/15, 1:30-3 pm
With Philip Howard of Common Good, Julian Richer and Harry Harbottle of Richter Spielgeräte, and Jane Clark Chermayeff of Architectural Playground Equipment, Inc.
Are playgrounds today giving children what they need? This panel for landscape architects, project managers, and advisers will balance risk and safety in planning play spaces and consider how play environments have changed in the 21st century, from both the European and American practitioners’ perspectives.
Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network meeting
Sunday, 11/17 , 9:15-10:45 am
Children’s Outdoor Environments Professional Practice Network meeting
Sunday, 11/17 , 3:15-4:00 pm (I think this time may be incorrect, as the PPN meetings are usually 1.5 hours)
For more information and to register, visit ASLA’s conference page.
November 10, 2012
Last month, I had the privilege of seeing the Warrior and Family Support Center (WFSC) in San Antonio, Texas. Three other Texas A&M classmates (an MArch student and two MLA students) and I drove the 3.5 hours from College Station to visit the WFSC and the Center for the Intrepid (CFI), both on the Fort Sam Houston campus. The Center for the Intrepid offers the full spectrum of outpatient care for veterans and “wounded warriors” – active military personnel – who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe injuries such as limb loss, burns, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Patients are also treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The three missions of CFI include patient care, education and training, and research. Like all major military medical centers, the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston includes Fisher Houses, a place for the entire family to stay while patients are going through treatment and rehabilitation.
Chicago Botanic Garden seminar: “Gardens for veterans & children with sensory processing & spectrum disorders.”
July 17, 2012
Chicago Botanic Garden Healthcare Garden Design Seminar Program:
“Healing Through Nature: Healthcare Gardens for Veterans and Children with Sensory Processing and Spectrum Disorders”
July 20 – 22 2012
This is going to be SUCH a good seminar.
Returning veterans and children with sensory processing and spectrum disorders [such as Autism Spectrum Disorder] are two growing segments of the population that share a common root in disrupted neurological processing, which impacts all areas of life.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is increasingly a public health crisis. The number of cases is expected to grow, ultimately exceeding 500,000 in the United States, according to a study by researchers at Stanford University. Autism spectrum disorders are estimated to affect one in every 110 children. The unique challenges facing both of these special populations, their families, and their communities necessitates discussion on how to best serve and create garden environments of care where education, treatment, and recreation take place.
This three-day seminar offers a broad approach for discussion on how healing gardens and therapeutic spaces can be instrumental in recovery, treatment, and stress reduction for special populations. The program will draw on the expertise of medical professionals, researchers, and practitioners to discuss the complexities of diagnosis and treatment. These sessions will be combined with case studies led by landscape architects currently working to implement healing spaces, along with discussions about design features and guidelines for therapeutic gardens that serve these special populations.
Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/school/certificate/hgd_seminar for more details.
For past TLN Blog posts related to these topics, visit the following:
- Gardening Leave – One great answer to PTSD
- “Defiant Gardens” and other resources for veterans
- “Returning Home: The Veterans Garden Project,” by Steve Mitrione
- Veterans Day 2010- Memorials as healing landscapes
- Landscapes for Healing – Resources for veterans
- A Masters Thesis [by Brock Anderson] on healing gardens for veterans with PTSD
- “Outdoor Environments for Children with Autism & Special Needs” in InformeDesign’s ‘Implications’
- “Methodologies frame how we produce knowledge.” Guest post by Carol Krawczyk
“Soft Touch For A Silent Voice: Therapeutic Gardens for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” – Masters Thesis by Michelle Parkins
February 22, 2012
I met Michelle Parkins last May when I was teaching at the Chicago Botanic Gardens Healthcare Garden Design Certificate Program, and was immediately impressed by her commitment to her MLA research project on gardens for veterans with PTSD and other combat-related issues. Since then, Michelle has completed her thesis, which is available as a beautifully bound book at www.lulu.com/product/paperback/soft-touch-for-a-silent-voice. Below is the thesis abstract and a bit about Michelle, a veteran herself.
Michelle (that’s her on the left in the red jacket), in collaboration with Annie Kirk, principal at Red Bird Design and founder of the Acer Institute, recently created Therapeutic Gardens for Veterans groups on Linked In and Facebook. These groups are a “Collaboratory to advance therapeutic garden environments as an extension of support and care for veterans & their families.” I encourage everyone interested in this subject to join in on the conversation.
Here is what Michelle writes about herself and her interest in this subject:
My adventures in life have seemed to always evolve around the military; growing up an ‘Army Brat’ triggered my interest. My time in the Navy consisted of great travel overseas and the education I received both in and out of Navy was invaluable. Due to an injury, my time in the Navy was cut short, however my respect for my fellow veterans and active duty military has never gone away. As a veteran using the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, I saw first hand the need and potential benefits for utilizing the outdoor garden spaces as VA hospitals and clinics. Although I have completed my Master’s of Landscape Architecture I plan to pursue the research and possible consultation of gardens for veterans.
November 11, 2011
It’s Veteran’s Day, 2011, a good time to highlight some new research on gardens for veterans with PTSD. This is such an important topic, and Brock Anderson decided to make it his Thesis for his Master of Landscape Architecture at Utah State University.
“An Exploration of the Potential Benefits of Healing Gardens on Veterans with PTSD,” by Brock Anderson, is now availalble online for download at http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/gradreports/50/.
Here’s the Abstract:
Healing gardens are places that facilitate in improving or restoring an individual’s mental or physical health. Today, therapeutic landscape design is a growing facet of landscape architecture. This study looks at the potential benefits of using healing gardens in addition to traditional methods of treatment for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A reasonable amount of research has been done into the area of therapeutic landscapes and their influence on certain populations, but the potential positive effects these healing gardensmay hold for veterans suffering from PTSD seems to be unidentified. This study examines the history of healing gardens, problems facing veteran populations today, current treatment methods for PTSD, and how healing gardens could be beneficial to veterans with PTSD. A Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facility that is in the process of implementing a healing garden was usedto determine how their PTSD patients will potentially use a healing garden space during treatment.
The purpose of this study was to describe some of the potential benefits that healing gardens could have on veterans suffering from PTSD. Other VA facilities can use this information in the future when implementing healing gardens for PTSD patients. This study is intended to increase awareness of the potential benefits healing gardens might hold for veterans suffering from PTSD and encourage further research into the area.
Recommended citation: Anderson, Brock Justin, “An Exploration of the Potential Benefits of Healing Gardens on Veterans with PTSD” (2011). All Graduate Reports and Creative Projects. Paper 50. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/gradreports/50
Many thanks to Brock for sharing this with us!
And if that weren’t enough great stuff for one day, here’s an excellent article by Janet Brown, published recently in Healthcare Design Magazine, about a wonderful healing garden and horticultural therapy program at the East Orange NJ Veterans Affairs: http://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/article/va-campus-takes-healing-gardens.
November 12, 2010
Speaking of veterans (see yesterday’s post. “Veterans Day, 2010 – Memorials as Healing Landscapes“), many who come home alive require medical treatment for both physical and emotional problems. Steve Mitrione, a doctor as well as a landscape architect, explains that more people are surviving because of body armor and better medical technology, but the injuries are more severe. The number of veterans returning with traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, is alarming. Also alarming is the number of veterans returning with post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Current studies estimate that about 20% of active duty and 42% of reserve duty soldiers require mental health services for PTSD. The VA system and the military are beginning to reach out to landscape architects and horticultural therapists as one strategy for addressing PTSD. Several students have contacted the TLN this year looking for information because they want to write their masters thesis on the subject Here are some good resources to tap into, but what’s still lacking is research. If we are to create spaces and programs for people (veterans and others) with PTSD based on the evidence, we need the evidence. If you know of any published studies, please let us know! Leave a comment on this blog, or contact us through the TLN website.
“Returning Home: The Veterans Therapeutic Garden Project,” by Dr. Steven Mitrione, Associate ASLA – Article written for the ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network’s Spring 2010 Newsletter. “Given the challenges facing the VA system, we believe that therapeutic gardens have the potential to alleviate suffering, provide for recovery and therapy, enhance the veteran’s experience of care, and reduce costs.” This article is really really worth reading. Chock full of good information and ideas. A good place to start.
“Therapeutic Garden Design and Veterans Affairs: Preparing for Future Needs.” – Joint conference with the Acer Institute and the ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network in Miami, FL, 2005 – Click here to link to the conference proceedings.
Acer Insitute’s list of Therapeutic Gardens at Veterans Healthcare Facilities – This list is in development. If you know of a facility or program (especially if it’s a good one!), you can sign in and add to the list.
Gardening Leave (www.gardeningleave.org) – A UK charity founded by Anna Baker Cresswell for ex-Servicemen and women with PTSD and other mental health issues. The goal is to combat stress through horticultural therapy activities – growing fruit and vegetables – in a walled garden setting, where people feel safe and protected. The program has been developed in accordance with plans by Combat Stress (Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society).
Gardening Leave commissioned an evaluation of their project, which you can link to on their website. The title of the report is “An Evaluation of the Gardening Leave Project for Ex-Military Personnel with PTSD and Other Combat Related Mental Health Problems,” by Jacqueline Atkinson, Professor of Mental Health Policy at Glasgow University June 2009.
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Veterans Garden – Nestled in the heart of Los Angeles, this unique 15-acre garden is operated by vets of the VA Hospital as part of the Horticulture Therapy Program. The Vets’ Garden is open to the public and offers a beautiful and tranquil escape from the congestion and concrete of the city. Established in 1986 as a work therapy program, the garden continues to run as a fully self-sufficient business, selling fresh-grown, pesticide-free produce to individual customers and several local restaurants.
Farmer Veteran Coalition – “Farmers helping veterans, veterans helping farmers.”
Veterans Farm – The veterans farm was developed to unite disabled veterans and to help them overcome disabilities such as (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and (TBI) Traumatic Brain Injuries through “Horticulture Therapy”. Through different programs, veterans will have a chance to “Earn While They Learn.”
Veteran Homestead Victory Farm – Victory Farm, is a supportive housing program located on an eighty acre working organic vegetable farm in New Hampshire. This program offers a lifestyle change to the homeless veteran who has not been successful transitioning from residential treatment programs to independent or transitional housing.
Defiant Gardens, by Kenneth Helphand – The book gives a historical view of “…gardens created in extreme or difficult environmental, social, political, economic, or cultural conditions. These gardens represent adaptation to challenging circumstances, but they can also be viewed from other dimensions as sites of assertion and affirmation.” The website, also called Defiant Gardens, brings us up to date, with gardens in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Guantanamoinformation and images of prison gardens, community gardens, and . The most recent post is the text from a New York Times article on gardens in Afghanistan.
Also see our blog post “Defiant Gardens” and Other Resources for Veterans from last November.
“A Place to Call Home: A Landscape Master Plan to Honor the Veterans at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, Chelsea, Massachusetts,” by Suzanne Higham Independent Project Thesis fora Graduate Certificate in Landscape Design at the Landscape Institute of The Boston Architectural College (note: I just received this thesis yesterday and have not yet had a chance to put it on the TLN website. Please check back soon).
So to reiterate, the big missing piece is RESEARCH.
Rick Spalenka, a landscape architect who is also a registered nurse and treated veterans with PTSD in a psychiatric nursing program, noticed two things: First, that PTSD is much higher in women vets than in men, often stemming from sexual abuse either before or during service. And second, that outdoor smoking areas are extremely important places for social gathering and connection. Designing areas for smoking into a garden? Some people might be appalled by this idea, but if that’s what gets someone out of their hospital bed and connecting with other people, maybe it’s not such a bad thing. “Smoking activity and smoking privileges have therapeutic qualities despite seeming so contrary to health. You remove smoking privileges from psych patients you will face hostility and anger. You prohibit smoking activity from med/surg patients and you face increased anxiety. The most popular meeting place for Vet patients is the smoke shack. They socialize and get physical activity. I used to tell my patients ‘the only one who ever got better in bed was Casanova. Get out of bed.'”
Please help us add to this list of resources. Leave a comment on this blog, or contact us through the TLN website.
November 11, 2010
It’s Veterans Day in the United States, and thousands of ceremonies will take place across the country to honor the people who have served. Some have come home as recently as last month. Many of those ceremonies will take place at memorials, including the Annual Veterans Day Observance at the Wall organized by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
Memorials act as catalysts for our individual and collective remembrance and grieving. They can also serve as historical reminders and teachers for future generations.
On my trip to Washington, D.C. in September, I visited the three Vietnam Veterans Memorials – Maya Lin’s Wall and the two more traditional representational sculptures (Glenna Goodacre’s Vietnam Women’s Memorial and Frederick Hart’s Three Servicemen). I also visited National World War II Memorial, which is more recent and very different in style.
Each was powerful in its own way. I was struck at the Vietnam Veterans memorial site by the setting, which is very green and peaceful – a pastoral landscape of lawn and trees and sky. The volunteer at the Wall explained that they call it, including the grounds, a “landscape of healing,” and that Lin’s sculpture, sited in a large expanse of lawn, represents a wound that heals but leaves a scar.
What was most moving to me, though, were the people who were there to find a name, or reunite with fellow veterans, or get a sense of the enormity of loss. A site is a site, a sculpture is a sculpture. But people – family, friends, and visitors – give the place meaning and make it a true landscape of healing.
The Therapeutic Landscapes Network’s Memorials page provides information related to memorials as healing landscapes, and we welcome your suggestions about more built works, websites, and resources online or in print.
November 11, 2009
For this post, on Veterans Day in the United States, I’d like to share some information about resources specifically for veterans.
While many veterans returning home from war have to deal with physical trauma, almost all suffer from emotional trauma and strain. On the extreme end is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can be debilitating for not just the individual veterans but for their entire family and community. More and more research has been coming out about gardening, exposure to nature in a safe setting, and horticultural therapy as effective tools for fighting PTSD and other stress-related problems.
Here are some resources about work that is being done around this issue:
Gardening Leave (www.gardeningleave.org) is a UK charity, founded by Anna Baker Cresswell, for ex-Servicemen and women with PTSD and other mental health troubles. The goal is to combat stress through horticultural therapy activities – growing fruit and vegetables – in a walled garden setting, where people feel safe and protected. The program has been developed in accordance with plans by Combat Stress (Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society).
The Acer Institute, founded and directed by P. Annie Kirk, teamed up with the ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network in 2005 to host a day-long conference, “Therapeutic Garden Design and Veterans Affairs: Preparing for Future Needs” at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center. You can download most of the presentations, see photos and movies, and even request the CD, on which all of the information is compiled, from Acer’s website. Since that conference, Annie has been creating a list of therapeutic (healing) gardens at VA Facilities. You can access this list from Acer website’s VA healthcare page (you just have to fill out a short form first). You can also add to the list, helping Acer to keep building this knowledge base.
Another great resource is the website Defiant Gardens, which came from Kenneth Helphand‘s book by the same name. I am so impressed with Helphand’s scholarship, and my admiration goes beyond his consistently good research and writing. In this case, it’s truly inspiring.
What are “defiant gardens?” They are, in the words of the author, “…gardens created in extreme or difficult environmental, social, political, economic, or cultural conditions. These gardens represent adaptation to challenging circumstances, but they can also be viewed from other dimensions as sites of assertion and affirmation.” Helphand’s book focuses on “Trench Gardens” on the Western Front in WWI, “Ghetto Gardens” in Nazi Europe, “Barbed-Wire Gardens” created by allied prisoners of war and civilian internees in Europe and Asia in the World Wars, gardens in Japanese internment camps in the United States during WWII, and gardens following WWII.
What I appreciate most about the website is that it includes information from the book, but also keeps going from there, encompassing prison gardens, community gardens, and gardens in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Guantanamo. The most recent post is the text from a New York Times article on gardens in Afghanistan.
And here’s another really nice post by my fellow landscape architecture and blogger colleague Rochelle Greayer: “I Gardened for My Life: The Defiant Gardens of POWs on Veterans Day.” Thanks for the mention, Rochelle. Always happy to inspire:)
And finally, here’s a link from the Farmer-Veteran Coalition (Farmers helping veterans, veterans helping farmers”) to a post about Nadia McAffrey, a Gold Star Mother (she lost her son in the Iraq war) who founded Veterans Village “to provide compassionate healing and living environments for returning veterans damaged by their war experience.” They are expanding to sites in Minnesota and New York, “where land is available for farming and gardening – important components for both the healing and the livelihood for the communities.” Thanks so much to Sharon for these links!