Saturday, June 2, 2012

How Much Urbanism is Enough? (On the necessity of sacred places)

Thoughtful article by Kaid Benfield on the interaction of privacy and publicity. "Everybody has a hungry heart" it goes in one of Bruce Springsteen's songs. We need sacred places just as much as public spaces. Sacred space and intimacy gradients are important topics in Alexander's A Pattern Language.

- How much urbanism is enough?

The book cover of the TKF Foundation's recently published book entitled Open Spaces Sacred Places [1]. The book dramatically demonstrates how nature has the power to heal and unify in our increasingly frenetic 21st-century world. It is a series of inspirational stories told through the voices of "firesouls," those passionate and persistent people who have brought communities together to create public areas of respite.

The book depicts a wide variety of sacred places, including a meditation garden inside the walls of a prison, a sculpture garden built by at-risk youth in the inner city, and a therapeutic healing garden at a rehabilitation hospital. These public green spaces are places of peace and refreshment, where people can tap into their own deep wisdom and find an antidote for the stressful, divisive, and isolating effects of life in today’s complex world.

While each of the profiled spaces has its own unique focus and character, they all have one common element—a bench with a journal attached where each visitor has the opportunity to anonymously reveal private thoughts and feelings. The journal entries, collected over 12 years, reinforce the essential human need to take time out in nature. Open Spaces Sacred Places also contains more than 200 beautifully photographed images that bring these spaces to life.With a foreword by G. Martin Moeller, Jr., Open Spaces Sacred Places provides helpful information for those who have the desire to become active firesouls by spearheading community efforts to create public green spaces.
The website of Sacred Places: www.opensacred.org

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