Healing from Harvest: Community Gardens as Healing Gardens

by Siyi He, Associate ASLA

Harvest celery, rainbow chard, and ginger. / image: Siyi He

Every spring in early April, some residents who live in the South End neighborhood of Boston go to Berkeley Garden to sow seeds on a plot they rent. They expect to harvest some greens, such as peas, broccoli, yin tsai, taro, or bitter melon, in the later days of summer. As one of the largest community gardens in the city, this forty-year-old garden, as well as so many other community gardens in the city, brings the joy and healing of harvest to people.

Living in an urban area isolates people from nature. We rarely get to smell or touch the texture of the soil. Getting vegetables from the grocery store is the easiest and most convenient way for us, leading to city dwellers who would never know where those vegetables come from or when would be the best time to plant certain vegetables. Not to mention, every city has food deserts. Vulnerable people, such as lower income residents, might have a difficult time obtaining healthy foods grown without pesticides. A community garden could help people to add organic vegetables to their diet in an affordable way.

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Healing Landscapes Design Practice

Master plan for Hengqin Hospital Healing Garden, Zhuhai, China
Master plan for Hengqin Hospital Healing Garden, Zhuhai, China / image: Adam E. Anderson

Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design Interview Series: Adam E. Anderson

Adam E. Anderson, ASLA, was one of the speakers for the 2018 Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) Meeting at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO. He is a registered landscape architect and the Founder/Director of Design Under Sky. He also runs the Landscape Architecture Department at Payette Architects. His projects are incredibly diverse, including but not limited to hospital healing gardens, residential gardens, master planning, campus plazas, rooftop gardens, and urban parks, as well as commissioned public art works.

His work interacts with the ever-changing landscape by ascertaining the unique phenomenological qualities and cultural influences inherent in a site, and then deploying interventions to embrace, reveal, and often embellish these qualities. “Nature” is abstracted in his projects, and he engages technological and ecological aspects of a site to create a celebration of nature and a sense of wonder.

Adam is currently working on projects at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and the 43-acre site of 5th Xiangya Hospital in China. He recently received a Rhode Island Council of the Arts Project Grant and has been appointed to the Rhode Island Scenic Roadways Board by the Governor of Rhode Island. He has taught at RISD since 2014 and has been a visiting critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Ohio State University, Northeastern University, and the Boston Architectural College.

The following interview was conducted by Siyi He, Associate ASLA, Chair of the Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (PPN).

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Nature, Healing, and Creativity

by Siyi He, Associate ASLA

The 2018 ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN Meeting
The 2018 ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN Meeting / image: Siyi He

Therapeutic Landscape Design Practice in the United States and Overseas: A Recap of the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting’s Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN Meeting

Landscape architects and designers know that nature has powerful potential to heal people’s bodies, minds, and spirits. Therapeutic garden design in healthcare facilities is creating functional spaces where people can access the healing power of nature in hospitals. The 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting’s Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (PPN) Meeting was held in Philadelphia on October 20 to discuss the topic of nature, healing, and creativity in healing garden design. The meeting was hosted by PPN Co-Chair Siyi He, Associate ASLA, and began with a description of PPN’s mission and the introduction of two invited landscape architect speakers, Geoff Anderson, ASLA, and Adam E. Anderson, ASLA. PPN Officer and Past Co-Chair Melody Tapia, Student ASLA, made the closing statement for the meeting. Melody and Siyi enthusiastically introduced the PPN leadership team and encouraged attendees to join our PPN. (Four of the attendees signed up for the leadership team right there! All ASLA members are welcome to get involved.)

The panelists, along with 40 attendees, discussed landscape design and features in healing gardens and the different restrictions for therapeutic design in the United States and overseas.

Our panelists were:

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