(Almost) Wordless Wednesday, 7/16/14

July 16th, 2014
Water lily photo by Henry Domke

Water lily photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

“Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
- Albert Einstein

 

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Landscapes for people with cancer – A (former) patient’s point of view. Guest post by Kevan Busa

July 11th, 2014
Busa at lake

Kevan at the lake.

Kevan Busa first contacted me in August of 2012. He was in his last year as an undergraduate in landscape architect at SUNY-ESF, and had been excited about the upcoming semester abroad program in Barcelona, Spain…until he was diagnosed with Leukemia. When he emailed me, he was in his fourth out of five rounds of chemotherapy, and was scheduled to be in Buffalo for three months to get a bone marrow transplant. He wrote, “I talked to my school and doctors and i think that i am going to be doing an independent study of healing spaces while i am there.” Seriously? You plan on doing research while you recover from chemo and a bone marrow transplant? Wow. And he did! His research was subsequently published in the June, 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture magazine. I asked him to write a guest post for the TLN Blog, and he graciously agreed. The post is below.

Looking back at by far the hardest year of my life, I have realized the potential that I have to share my information with the professional world and especially people interested in healing spaces. There is more information being added every day that will help so many people in the future and am honored to be adding my research and experience to the Therapeutic Landscapes Network.

I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and went through a Bone Marrow Transplant within the past year. There was a lot to take in when I got sick and to think about, especially life. Being a landscape architecture student at the State University of New York: College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the topic of healing spaces from within a hospital setting was always on my mind. I went through chemotherapy rounds as the world around me was enjoying summer and the outdoors. All I wanted to do was to be outside when I wasn’t getting treatment.

Busa with bone marrow

Busa in the hospital with the donated bone marrow he received.

The fact that even thinking about the outdoors kept me mentally engaged was something that I could not have understood until I was in such a hard time in my life. I wanted to research healing spaces for patients who were going through something but both my doctors and advisors weren’t sure about the concept of trying to get a Bone Marrow Transplant while taking credit in school. They didn’t know me well enough because when it was time to travel to Buffalo, New York for the Bone Marrow Transplant, I was enrolled with nine credits in school and ready to learn about healing spaces from a patient’s point of view.

I became fully immersed in the healthcare setting and was restricted to no contact with any green space. I had to take a different stance than most landscape designers by creating a synthesis of landscape design with what my disease and doctors were allowing. I became obsessed with studying the history and recent precedent projects of healthcare design. The relationship between humans and the environment goes back hundreds of years and the adaptations that they used to heal mentally and physically were amazing to see over generations and cultures. By looking at this research, it interested me to do a complete analysis project of the park at Roswell Cancer Institute named Kaminski Park.

Although I wasn’t able to visit the park at all while doing my research because it was unsafe for my health, I was able to pick up on minor details of the site and how the design could actually further complicate a patient’s health. The fact that these details were overlooked might not seem like a lot to an average human but for someone with a compromised immune system, going through chemotherapy/radiation, and other issues, it could be life threatening. Even down to the detail of patients with I.V. poles needing a smooth surface for them to walk with their poles, was being overlooked. Such a simple concept but was not done in the correct manor for these patients. It looked great, but the hospital would not be there without patients. Patients are the ones who need these spaces to heal, and that needs to be the focus.

As I continue to deal with health issues on a daily basis, I am very happy to be out of a hospital room and back into the environment. I use every opportunity to be outdoors with my short leash attached so that I can use the landscape in a healthy and precautious matter. Please take a look at the attached 3 page spread that appeared in Landscape Architecture Magazine in June 2013 to see more of my work and ideas.

Thank you and be in good health always,

Kevan Busa

And thank YOU, Kevan! Keep up the wonderful work.

Bio: Kevan earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the State University of New York: College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). After being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, he underwent a Bone Marrow Transplant. During treatment, he analyzed the Healing Garden at Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. His project, published in the June 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, examines healing spaces from the patient’s perspective revealing lifesaving details designers often miss. He has spoken at the New York State American Institute of Architects convention and published multiple interviews about how his work can inform healthcare design.

References:
Busa, K. (2013, June).  The designer becomes the patient. Landscape Architecture Magazine, 114-117. Busa LAM June 2013

Healthy Kevan

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The first therapeutic garden in Romania!

July 10th, 2014

Planting in Romania healing garden

Landscape engineer Nicsanu Marcela recently posted a photo on our TLN Facebook page with an image of raised flower beds and this caption: “First therapeutic garden in Romania!” That was pretty exciting. I emailed her to ask whether she’d like to do a guest blog post, and she agreed. Here is her post:

The first therapeutic garden in Romania opened its doors in June 2014, at Mocrea Psychiatric Hospital in Arad County. This first garden opened the way for horticultural therapy, a healing method used in almost some psychiatric hospitals in Western Europe and the USA.

Romania garden arbor

The garden covers an area of about 1,500 square meters and is composed of three major areas:

  • The area where the preparation of the floricultural material takes place (on specially constructed tables, patients work with seeds and sprouts in pots);
  • The wooden box area (garden beds built to facilitate arranging flowers, ideal for group therapy);
  • The ground garden area (patients can arrange the resulting material in various arrangements).

And so, the patients can follow their work in stages, thus being responsible for the very first seed put into the pot labeled with their names, then replanting the first seedlings in larger pots until the final result to transplant them into one of the raised planters or the ground.

The plants used were chosen based on their role, so there are three distinct categories:

  1. Sensory plants (Sedum, Miscanthus, Salvia argentea);
  2. Aromatic plants  (Mentha piperita, Ocimum basilicum, Thymus, Melissa);
  3. Plants that are relaxing by color and fragrance (Lavender, Jasmine, Impatiens, Dianthus, Euonymus, Clematis, Rudbeckia).

Over 3,000 plants (flowers and shrubs) were planted. On the working tables, we started the therapy with 100 envelopes of perennials and annual flower seeds and 150 bulbs.

Approximately 40 patients were drawn to this horticultural therapy with different tasks, for example: Watering flowers in the garden or pots, weeding,  replanting seedlings, peeling dried flowers, putting  seeds in pots, and arranging the garden beds.

The first therapeutic garden in Romania wants to be the leading horticultural therapy in Romania to support patients who are in the process of rediscovery and recovery.

Landscape engineer- Nicsanu Marcela Romanian healing garden

Many thanks to Landscape engineer Nicsanu Marcela (center) for this post!

 

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Wordless Wednesday, 7/9/14

July 9th, 2014
Photo by Henry Domke at www.henrydomke.com

Photo by Henry Domke at www.henrydomke.com

Happy July! Thanks to Henry Domke for this beautiful image.

 

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Enter now! Landscape Architecture for Healthcare Communities awards

June 27th, 2014
Smilow Cancer Hospital healing garden

The stream at Yale-New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Hospital. Design by Towers Golde. Photo by Naomi Sachs

2013 was a momentous year for landscape architecture in healthcare design: It was the first year that Healthcare Design and Environments for Aging held the Landscape Architecture for Healthcare Communities Awards.

The projects were chosen by two different panels of jurors – one for Acute Care (Healthcare Design) and one for Senior Living (Environments for Aging and Long-Term Living). Acute Care and Senior Living project award winners were featured in the December digital issues of Healthcare Design and EFA magazines. Acute Care award winners were also featured in the May/June 2014 print edition and will be honored in November at HEALTHCARE DESIGN14 in San Diego, CA. Senior Living project winners were honored at the Environments for Aging conference in May.

And here’s more good news: They’re doing it again! Submission are due for both categories on July 14, 2014 so get busy with your applications.

This is a terrific opportunity for landscape architects and healthcare facilities with successful therapeutic landscapes to showcase their work, and for everyone else to see the best examples of how it should be done. Read the rest of this entry »

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