March 8, 2012
A special thank you to Tim Matsui for letting us use his photographs in this post.
My school, Colby College, had Jan Plan. Jan Plan was great. For one month in between semesters you could do just about anything you wanted as long as you learned something. You could take a class somewhere else, learn to play the guitar, or go on a school-sponsored trip to London to study theater.
One year I went on an Earthwatch trip to Montserrat in the West Indies. Originally it was supposed to be an architectural dig but hurricane Hugo put the kibosh on that, so Earthwatch turned the trip into a hurricane relief project and asked all who had signed up if we still wanted to go. We all did.
In the main town of Montserrat, Plymouth, there had been a very old tree that marked the unofficial town gathering spot. People would meet there during the day as they went along their daily routines and at night to socialize.
The hurricane demolished the tree but people still gathered around the spot where it had been. To them this was a social routine that was not going to end because the tree was gone.
The Pomegranate Center, founded in 1986 by artist and community organizer Milenko Matanovic, is dedicated to working with communities to create public gathering places. The people of the Pomegranate Center believe their, “… time tested approach to public space building creates a foundation for healthy community development and can be a critical first step in bringing communities together to work for a healthier, more sustainable future.”
Recently the Pomegranate center completed a project in Sumner, WA that turned an alleyway into a community space.
But with hard work from Pomegranate staff members and the community this alley was transformed into the beautiful space you see below.
But with hard work from Pomegranate staff members and the community this alley was transformed into the beautiful space you see here.
February 23, 2012
On The Therapeutic Landscapes Network blog Naomi Sachs writes about Michelle Parkins, a veteran and self-proclaimed Army brat who wrote her Masters of Landscape Architecture thesis on the therapeutic value of gardens and gardening for veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and other combat related issues.
Michelle, in collaboration with Annie Kirk, created Therapeutic Gardens for Veterans. You can visit the group on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also join ongoing discussions about therapeutic gardens at their Land8Lounge page.
For the full article, more information about Michelle and a link to her completed thesis plus a beautiful photograph she took herself go here.