About – Project for Public Spaces

I just discovered this organization and I’m already in love…

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Our pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.

Since 1975 we have completed projects in more than 3000 communities in 43 countries and all 50 U.S. states and are the premier center for best practices, information and resources on placemaking.

Read more about – Project for Public Spaces

Calling all Artists! – Seattle Bridge Residencies for 2016

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), in partnership with the Office of Arts & Culture (Arts), is excited to announce two unique opportunities for artist residencies in 2016. Using the towers of two movable bridges as a canvas, the City is seeking an individual or team of artists for two residencies, one for the Fremont Bridge and one for the University Bridge.

Find out more at: Calling all Artists! – Seattle Bridge Residencies for 2016

In Chicago, New Parks Are Civic Infrastructure


Another great example from Chicago of prioritizing green spaces and environmental enrichment for its citizens.

Originally posted on The Dirt:

Burnham's Plan of Chicago / University of Chicago Burnham’s Plan of Chicago / University of Chicago

For Daniel Burnham, the Chicago architect and planner who created the 1909 Plan of Chicago, civic and infrastructural improvements in Chicago could only happen simultaneously. This approach continues today. Using Burnham’s plan as launching point to discuss some of the parks and landscapes recently created, Marshall Brown, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Marshall Brown Projects, moderated a panel at the ASLA 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago with Sarah Astheimer, ASLA, James Corner Field Operations; Matthew Bird, ASLA, Michael Van Valkenburg Associates (MVVA); and Gina Ford, ASLA, Sasaki Associates.

In the Plan of Chicago, Burnham’s approach was an “integration of landscape and architecture,” creating hybrid places that are infrastructural in nature. The three new Chicago parks and landscapes discussed in the session – Navy Pier Pierscape by James Corner Field Operations, Maggie Daley Park by MVVA, and…

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Fun Office Still Life

Shared by my friend. A great example of environmental enrichment for smaller spaces, like an office desk.

office still life

I love the fact that it combines both natural elements – plants and wood – with a toy and symbol of something that makes her happy.

A few of my coworkers also have similar things on their desks. What sort of meditation, mini zen garden, or other still life do you have on your desk, kitchen window, wherever? Leave a photo and description in the comments below.

Study Shows Community Gardens Can Improve Mental Health

This is a great shift in the study of biophilia and nature’s impact on people. This looked at both the environment and communal aspects of nature, via a community garden:

Researchers in the U.K. have found that people who work in community gardens not only experience better physical health but enjoy improved mental health as well. A new study, published in the Journal of Public Health and authored by scientists at Westminster and Essex universities found that people who gardened for at least 30 minutes a week had lower body mass indexes (BMIs)—a measure of body fat—as well as higher levels of self-esteem and better moods overall. They also reported lower levels of tension and stress.

The Brits call them “allotment gardens”—small plots of land, generally located within congested urban areas, that are open for use to the public.

“With an increasing number of people residing in urban areas, a decline in the number of homes with gardens, and the increased risk for mental ill health associated with urban living, these findings are particularly important and suggest that allotment gardening might play an important role in promoting mental well-being in people residing in urban areas,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

Source: Community Gardens Can Improve Your Mental Health, Study Shows | GOOD

Do you have a space to garden with friends, or just by yourself? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

‘The Monster Project’, Kids Draw Monsters and Then Artists From Around the World Recreate Them in Their Own Styles

This is a really great project focused on promoting and validating creativity as well as collaboration and visual exploration:

The Monster Project is an awesome collaboration among skilled artist from around the world who recreate drawings, created by elementary school students, in their own styles to help teach the kids about the importance of creativity and imagination. The massive team behind the project are currently raising funds on Kickstarter to help expand to other schools, create an activity book, make professional prints for the kids, start an online, and more. The entire collection of drawings and artist remakes are available to view in the Monster Gallery.

More at: ‘The Monster Project’, Kids Draw Monsters and Then Artists From Around the World Recreate Them in Their Own Styles

Which Aspects of Nature Improve Our Health?


Interesting breakdown.

Originally posted on The Dirt:

Landscape attributes / MaryCarol Hunter Landscape attributes / MaryCarol Hunter

“We know that exposure to nature enhances our well-being, but we know less about the specific features that create these positive effects,” said MaryCarol Hunter, ASLA, University of Michigan, at the ASLA 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago. A set of fascinating studies by Hunter and Marc Berman, a psychologist and neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, are beginning to converge on what those feature are. The goal is to translate knowledge of these features into design guidelines landscape architects and other designers can apply. All of this research is happening under the rubric of the TKF Foundation, which has invested millions over the past two decades creating more than 130 small, healing parks and financing research studies on the health benefits of green spaces in dense, urban areas. The TKF Foundation wants to know: with increasingly limited space in cities for green space…

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Snoqualmie, WA, New Fisher Creek Park Designed In Collaboration With Kids

When the Snoqualmie, WA Parks Board asked local Girl Scouts to choose the park’s new amenities, the Girl Scouts provided their input and the newly designed Fisher Creek Park was built. With a ginormous play structure, dueling zip lines, rock climbing wall and mountain bike park, this just-opened park is already a big hit with locals.

By designing an awesome playground with eight slides, a music station, a rock climbing wall, merry-go-round, spider ball and dueling 100-foot long zip lines, plus a mountain bike park, a full-size basketball court and a .75 mile trail that’s connected to the Snoqualmie Ridge Trail system, Fisher Creek Park was designed for the whole family to play.

Read more about the park here: Zip, Slide and Climb at Snoqualmie’s New Fisher Creek Park