Letter from the Chair
by Susan Erickson

Greetings faithful readers!  I hope you enjoy this latest newsletter from the Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network. Editor Sally Shute has once again compiled an excellent newsletter; I’m sure you will want to join me in thanking her for her work. This newsletter belongs to all the members of the PPN and it’s a great way to showcase your work. We strive to publish a newsletter at least annually, so begin thinking now about sharing a project with us in our next edition.

In this issue of our newsletter, Sonja Johansson, FASLA, invites us to New York to visit three therapeutic gardens at the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine building in New York City. The gardens are being demolished in order to make way for new medical facilities. These were some of the early therapeutic garden spaces in the United States and provide excellent examples of well-developed garden spaces. Sonja gave a presentation on the Children’s PlayGarden several years ago at the ASLA National Meeting. I was inspired by her presentation and still recall some of the design details. If you’ll be in the Northeast this summer, it would be worth a detour to see these gardens before they are lost.

Hospitals are one type of rehabilitative space, but author Amy Lindemuth challenges us to also consider prison landscapes for their rehabilitative and restorative qualities. She has some thought-provoking ideas about zones of landscape diversity and how they correlate with zones of security classification. I especially appreciated Amy’s insight into the importance of describing our work in terms that will have value and resonance with our client groups, no matter who they are. She also shares some thoughts with us about why landscape design at prison facilities may become a more highly valued commodity in today’s economic climate. Read more and consider if this might be a new market arena for your practice.

Rick Spalenka, ASLA, takes us on a different journey—to the Harris Prayer and Meditation Garden in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The goal of this garden was to create a place “where visitors could find respite from stress, from worldly distractions, and from uncomfortable weather.” I’m ready to pack my bags and visit this garden today—it sounds so inviting! Rick attributes much of this garden’s success to a team of capable and engaged stakeholders—a valuable commodity for any project. I applaud Rick for having checked back on the status of his work several years later. We all talk about the importance of checking on the longevity of our work, but how many of us actually get the job done? Thanks for sharing your successful story with us, Rick!

Finally, Dipti Trivedi, ASLA, and Mary McCawley, ASLA, share their design work at the Methodist Women’s Hospital Healing Garden in Omaha, Nebraska. This garden, although in a challenging location at the hospital’s entrance, provides a welcoming respite from the stresses of sickness and a large medical facility. I am especially encouraged to hear that they are planning a post-occupancy evaluation of the healing garden for next year to study its impact on hospital staff. I believe this is a largely untapped area of inquiry. Please share your findings with us after your study, Dipti and Mary!

I trust you will appreciate this issue of our newsletter. We strive to provide you with interesting, timely, and challenging information to inform your practice, whatever form it takes. I am wrapping up my second year as chair of the PPN, and I will be passing the gavel to Rick Spalenka at the ASLA National Meeting in San Diego next fall. Plan to join us there; we always enjoy our gathering time as a PPN group. Our PPN meeting is scheduled for Monday October 31, 11-12:30 pm in Room 1 of the EXPO Hall. There are also several education sessions at the meeting of interest to therapeutic design.

I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your chair, and I urge others to become involved with the PPN, it has been a great way for me to meet new people and make connections.

Best regards,
Susan Erickson
Chair, Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN

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Jack Carman, FASLA, Chair (2013-2014)
(609) 953-5881

Past Chairs

Steve Mitrione, ASLA (2012-2013)

Rick Spalenka (2011-2012)

Susan Erickson, ASLA (2008-2010)

Angela Pappas (2007-2008)

Marguerite Koepke, ASLA (2005-2006)

Naomi Sachs, ASLA (2002-2004)
Therapeutic Landscapes Network

Mark Epstein, ASLA, Co-Chair (1999-2002)

Jack Carman, FASLA, Co-Chair (1999-2002)