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Health of Place Perspectives
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Health of Place

We all carry within us a sense of place. At its best, it’s a feeling of settledness, well-being, contentment, optimism and security that’s attached to a physical setting, perhaps because of familiarity or personal history. But this sense of health and vitality is also a function of streaming daylight, fresh air, clean water, fecund soil, thriving habitat, visual and physical access to green space, shelter from a storm… in short, the patterns of life.

The Willow School
Syracuse Center of Excellence
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The Willow School

The Willow School, a small, independent coeducational day school for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, is committed to combining academic excellence, the joy of learning, and experiencing the wonder of the natural world. The campus includes a LEED Gold and a LEED Platinum building.

Syracuse Center of Excellence

Located on a severely contaminated brownfield, the project represents a major urban revitalization in a devastated quarter of Syracuse, New York, including the creation of a public transportation hub. Pursuing LEED Platinum certification.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

This $20 million education and administration building will exceed the highest green building standards, and generate its own energy with renewable resources. Pursuing LEED Platinum and The Living Building Challenge.

Sustainability is ultimately about sustaining all life. The current trend of making buildings, cars, light bulbs, products and processes more efficient is simply the beginning point for achieving this goal. In order to truly achieve sustainability for ourselves and the other species on this planet, we will need to redevelop a conscious connection with an understanding of the whole system of life-enhancing processes that shape the habitats within which we live. We must reintegrate our building—and our communities—with life on Earth.

The process of creating our shelter, producing our food, provisioning our water, and harnessing our energy has tremendous impact on planetary health. The corollary is also true; the act of connecting and building can become an act of healing and regenerating the community of life. In other words, learning how to sustain our communities can be a “re-membering” and rebirth of consciousness – an understanding that humans are not separate from nature. In recognizing that we are members of the same system that contributes to, is subject to, and forms the whole Earth system, we can begin to discover patterns that will help us contribute to healing of the whole – “wholing.”

7group and our partners, such as Bill Reed and Regensis, work with the philosophical underpinnings of such a design approach, but support this theoretical foundation with very practical concepts and strategies by integrating technical and living systems through a deep understanding and application of life’s principles and patterns… by manifesting place.

Surprisingly, this is not as hard as it may seem; but such an approach represents a real change in the way we think, build, and live on this planet. It requires a reawakening of what it means to develop – that is to say, in its literal meaning, to create new potential.

The healthy evolution of our planet requires all of us to be engaged in such thoughtful and conscious design. We are all co-designers.

7group is proud to collaborate with the following organizations: