Saturday, March 7, 2009

Findings from Amanda

There are already some existing organizations devoted to this topic, so perhaps we can learn from their example. There is a Therapeutic Landscapes Database Blog from which we might take the lead:

A conference devoted to evidence-based research in design and health coming up in Florida in October-November of this year:

From the Therapeutic Landscapes Database  a compiled list of related articles

Begin with Research

Research: is the driving force for administrators to buy into healing spaces (and competition) what has already been researched, and what do we want to measure? What outcomes do we want? Research is key in prioritizing space allocation in budget. Connect with faculty at universities to coordinate outcomes we want with students interested in doing research.

Stress responses include heart rate, breathing rate, sweat, brain activity which can vary depending on individual (ADHD, autism, etc). Prior brain scans help to sort data. Research experiments need to have variables reduced and measure qualitative experience.


Definitions of healing space: Connection with nature. Stress free, calming and stimulating spaces, feeling of safety & trust (what does the environment say about trust?); good chi, art and natural lighting are tools. People are instinctively attracted to environments that promote human survival. . Five elements of nature (esp. water), Yin/yang balance and energy flow connect us to the whole cycle of life.

The human connection: use of glass, transparency to feel connection. Central gathering spaces such as courtyards used in Islamic and other cultures to promote a shared experience.
Everyone needs to feel cared for – patients, staff, and visitors. What is the experience of each? A good hospital can be a community destination as a great space and as a center for health education. More emphasis on “wellness” in healthcare environments.

The sequential experience of proceeding through space, from arrival (parking car), wayfinding, entering building, finding destination, leaving (finding car) are all relevant to healing environment experience. Lowell General Hospital has vertical black granite element with water at entrance that has healing effect. Honoring the whole of human experience. Places of grief (like hospitals, nursing homes and funeral homes) need healing environments.

Designing space with mathematical relationships that exist in nature such as the golden mean and sacred geometry. Exploring the new science of fractals and how to apply to design.

How Are You Feeling Today?

It is a simple idea but your emotions effect your health. When an environment produces calm, delight, trust or strength the healing process is enhanced.

The Healing Environments Collaborative (HEC) was cofounded with Lisa E. Bailey, a superb Landscape Architect recognized for her work creating Healing Gardens, and Bruce Davidson who designs and builds ideal landscapes where beauty endures.

The HEC creates interior and exterior environments that involve:
ART: murals and other therapeutic art/technology programs custom-designed for each organization
: design and creation of gardens and outdoor spaces that extend facilities reduce stress, accelerate healing, and instill a sense of emotional and spiritual well-being
HORTICULTURE THERAPY: program design, educational presentations, consulting
INTERIOR ENVIRONMENTS: design, redesign and remodeling of occupational/physical therapy rooms, living spaces, community spaces
We consult with and design and build to benefit the multiple populations we serve;
residents, patients, staff, visitors and administration.