JME 2007

JME 2007


Therapeutic Landscapes or the promotion of the diversity for human well-being

Almo Farina (Chief Editor), Adriana Ghersi (Guest Editor)

JME hosts a selection of texts presented to the international conference on Therapeutic Landscapes, held in Genoa on 26th-27th October 2006 (see the program below), in the building of the Faculty of Architecture.

Presentation of the Conference on Therapeutic Landscapes

Annalisa Calcagno Maniglio

Therapeutic landscapes: Paradigms and applications

Almo Farina, Silvia Scozzafava and Brian Napoletano

The word “therapeutic science” arises from the Greek: Therapeytikè (the art of assistance) and its use as an ecological hypothesis seems at first a little forced. But the ecosystem services that natural processes provide and “offer” to humans are not only restricted to air, water and food, they are spread on a large family of apparently small and cryptic services which assure, like emerging phenomenon, a well-being status in humans. Why cannot the landscape be considered eligible for a therapy? Dealing with therapeutic landscape means to accept that landscape is not simply a meta-ecosystem organization but a complex entity composed of material and un-material elements. This point requires new paradigms in order to incorporate into the ecological realm concepts that apparently are related to spirituality, philosophy and metaphysics. For this reason the landscape must be considered the result of cognitive processes and not simply a large area or a scenic view of the surroundings. If we embrace the hypothesis of landscape as the result of perception we have to discover the natural elements that elicit well-being status or malaise. Probably the well-being is the accomplishment of a specific function and such function requires a specific eco-field. The eco-field is defined as a carrier of meaning spatial configuration that is requested when a specific function is activated. Genetic or cultural template have to be considered as well, in order to select the appropriated eco-field. Such a process is dynamic and adaptive and changes according to sex, age and culture of the subject. The sense of place, heritage and spiritual values are some of the components that participate to the human well-being. Such elements are embedded into the cognitive landscape that in turn is the result of human choices in environmental use of resources and in the governance. Finally, landscape therapy can be used to increase the recovery after a trauma or a specific disease and can be considered either a frontier of modern medicine and a new frontier in ecological research.

Medical contribution in therapeutic landscapes planning

Pierluigi Bruschettini, Emanuele Micheli, Andrea Serra, Matteo Bruschettini

In the postindustrial age, the cities had to face the problems of “what went wrong” (pollution, loss of green spaces, etc.) thus highlighting the need for important socio-economical changes, in order to preserve health and to avoid moral decline. To-day the slump of hospitals, the fast development of medical technology, and the economical pressures endanger the care of the patient in the hospitals, though they are efficient “diagnostic machineries”. Specific therapeutic landscapes require different people, and different proiects for different conditions, according also to the expectations of care-givers and care-receivers. Healing gardens may help recovery by enhancing both the individual wellbeing and relationship with other people: rural environments, natural light and proper sounds may aid interior and exterior communication.

Keywords: Therapeutic landscape, medical contribution, Kuphy, Aescupalius, Virgil, health planning, children hospitalization,

Ecotherapy: a therapeutic and educative model

Ambra Pedretti-Burls

Landscapes’ functions and human health: incidence of environmental

Gioia Gibelli, Marialfonsa Fontana Sartorio, Giuseppe Gibelli, Marco Lodi, Riccardo Santolini

Therapeutic views as an occasion for environmental compensation:the restyling project of Ca’ Granda, Niguarda Hospital (Milano, Italy)

Francesca Neonato, Barbara Colaninno

The Cà Granda Niguarda hospital was built in the 1930’s in the north of Milan, just facing the Brianza countryside. The citadel, its rural landscape and a wide park are the main features of the complex. In the course of time new buildings and a series of adaptations subsequently reduce the green areas and nullify the original green concept. Meanwhile, the city’s expansion insists around the walls of the citadel, leaving only the southern border of the Parco Nord as the only ecological connection to the rest of territory. The last and only Hyppotherapy activity centre in Milan remains on the premises. Because of the necessity to modernize, adapt and rebuild the hospital according to current technologies, a significant quota of the tree and vegetation heritage is to be destroyed (removed) to make place for the new asset of the complex. On this basis the project aims to identify the opportunities for the improvement of the remaining green areas, the mitigation of the new buildings and the compensation of the cutting down of trees. In this last case agreements between the hospital and the Parco Nord define strategies for the improvement of the southern part of the park in connection with the citadel, on the basis of continuity with hospital activities; in accordance with the city administration a Botanic garden will be created in the surroundings. The main feature of the master-plan is a rehabilitation path, which winds its way in and outside the citadels’ walls; it will be strongly distinguished in an educational and formative sense thus to involve school children, adults and patients. The whole project will be carried out in 15 years time.

Keywords: Environmental compensation, Niguarda Hospital (Milano, Italy)

Empowering People through Healing the Landscape

John Button, Gaia Aplington

The Power of Playing – for well being, for competence and for healing.

Barbara Hendricks

The allotment gardens of the Ile de France: a tool for social development

Adalgisa Rubino

Urban allotment gardens are a tool for social development used for their therapeutic and educational implications and in order to activate social inclusion policies. They are a tool for re-appropriation of places and the building of communities capable of addressing new social demands, the need for natural surroundings and a close relationship with the land and natural spaces. The increasing artificialization of society has highlighted a strong demand for landscape, which has expressed itself also through the quest for new modes of interaction with one’s own living environment, actively involving citizens in the production of such places. In this sense, urban gardens truly are territorial laboratories representing an act of appropriation of the space and of the production of landscape, in which the ties with nature reinforce the social ties, enhance personal wellbeing and help overcome people’s isolation. These are places creating and reinforcing social relations among people from different backgrounds, thus contributing to integration both intergenerational and ethnic, reinforcing each cultural identity (jardins familiaux); they are places for kids to get closer to nature and get acquainted with it (jardins pedagogiques) also capable of playing a therapeutic role towards persons with social problems, disabled, mentally ill, unemployed (jardins de insertion social).

Keywords: urban vegetable gardens, social development, Ile de France

Casitas, Healing the Wounds of Displacement

Daniel Winterbottom

In our increasingly multi-cultural society many voices are not expressed in the public landscape. The design of public space often reflects a class based system, representing the values of those in power. Often these places ignore the psychological, spiritual or therapeutic needs of the users (Kaplan and Kaplan 1989,1995). This is magnified for recent immigrants who may be undergoing a sense of loss and displacement, alienation from the culture around them and loss of empowerment and self esteem. With the increase of moving populations at a global scale, this is an issue common to many cities around the world. In New York City, a unique form of park spaces have been created on reclaimed neglected urban land which meet many of the community needs, social, spiritual, cultural and ecological. In these gardens, activities range from passive meditation to active children’s play areas. The raising of food and medicinal crops engage the users and offer a sense of belonging to those who may feel disconnected and lonely. As green oases in typically chaotic environments these gardens are valued by the users for their restorative benefits including stress reduction, ability to regain focus, a calming engagement with nature and increased sense of well being. Created by Puerto Rican immigrants, these lush oases, re-creations of their indigenous landscapes, provide respite from the surrounding streets in a familiar “home” setting. Casitas constitute a unique blend of landscape, vernacular architecture and art. This paper will present how these spaces are used as restorative refuges and as places to express and affirm traditional cultural values, how they offer a meaningful alternative to traditional western gardens and public parks for local communities, and ease the process of displacement, alienation and adaptation in a new environment. These gardens foster and reinforce identity, self efficacy, self esteem and place congruent continuity (Winterbottom 1999). The community garden should be a place not only of great plant diversity, but offers a wide range of uses and meanings. In this iteration of community gardens the building of and attraction to the casita represents both a connection to and a celebration of traditional Puerto Rican culture and a reclamation and adaptation of the environment by the Puerto Rican community.

Keywords: Restorative Gardens, Place Attachment, Identity, Metaphor, Memory, Community Gardens, Latino

Designing Therapeutic Environments for Inmates and Prison Staff in the United States: Precedents and Contemporary Applications

Amy L. Lindemuth

American correctional facilities are stressful social environments within stark institutional settings. Although these settings are experienced by millions of inmates and staff every day and have negative effects on health, the restorative and therapeutic benefits that the architecture and landscape could provide are rarely given careful consideration by designers and other individuals involved in their planning, construction, or administration. Research has shown that gardens and natural settings can be physically and psychologically beneficial for inmates and prison staff in terms of reducing stress and alleviating mental fatigue. While gardens have been used in U.S. prisons since at least the 19th century for vocational training and therapy, their design has received little consideration. Further, the design and process of creating a garden with restorative and therapeutic qualities in a prison environment has received little attention in the Landscape Architecture literature. This paper discusses the potential benefits of prison gardens as well as the elements necessary to design, implement, and maintain a successful prison garden project. Research into historic and contemporary precedents of prison gardens is discussed as well as the author’s experience developing a design for prison staff and mentally ill inmates within a state facility northeast of Seattle, Washington.

Keywords: Prisons and Therapeutic Environments, American Prison Gardens

Projects of therapeutic landscapes

Adriana Ghersi