8 Dimensions of a Healing City

What does a Healing City (or town, or community) look like…and feel like? We propose eight dimensions of a Healing City. Use these as a guide to understanding and exploring the concept, and to assist in the development of your own interpretation of a Healing City.

1- Whole Communities

Think about the place where you live, work, learn, and play – your “community” …

  • How does your community affect your sense of “aliveness,” with opportunities for interacting with self, others, and the built and natural world?
  • Does your community support your needs as a whole human being by providing convenient and comfortable opportunities for living, working, playing, and reflecting?
  • How much of your life do you want to live in your neighborhood, and do you feel there are opportunities to stay there as long as you desire – regardless of your physical/financial/relationship condition?

Additional ideas to consider: Sense of belonging and neighborhood identity; Shops and services; Recreation; Learning; Prosperity; Diversity of people; Exposure to new/different/challenging things and people.


2- Conscious Mobility

Think about how you move around during your daily life…

  • How do your travel patterns reflect your desired lifestyle and your connections to the people and the world around you?
  • How do your travel choices make you feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually?

Additional ideas to consider: Safety; Active spaces; Exposure to the seasons and different weather conditions; Air pollution; Ease of travel; Interactions with others on the street/path; Exercise; Solitude and “time to think.”


3- Restorative Architecture

Think about the buildings you spend time in – your house, workplace, place of learning, spiritual refuge, etc…

  • How do you feel when you first enter the buildings you spend time in (home/workplace, etc.); how do you feel after spending a longer period of time there?
  • What do the buildings you spend your time in tell you about your community and the world – and your place within it?
  • Where do you feel at peace?  What spaces replenish you?

Additional ideas to consider: Spiritual nourishment; Lighting, ventilation, and vegetation; Social interactions and solitude; Awareness of outside conditions; Comfort, anxiety or peace.


4- Thriving Landscapes

Think about the open spaces, parks and green spaces, and natural world around you – big or small; natural or cultivated…

  • What do the landscapes around you tell you about your community and the wider world – in the present, and in the future?
  • Where do you go to feel connected to earth, people, and other living things?
  • Do you have space near you to enjoy being outside?

Additional ideas to consider: Spaces to run and play; Beauty, reflection, solitude, and gardening; interactions with ranges of weather and landscapes; safety and accessibility.


5- Integrated Infrastructure

Think about the systems we use to produce energy, address waste, transport water…

  • Do you know what happens with your community’s inputs and outputs (e.g. water, waste, sewage, energy) and how do you feel about the impacts of these systems on the world?
  • How well are these systems connected – to turn waste into resources? Do you have access to composting and recycling facilities or services?

Additional ideas to consider: Energy, heat, and electricity; Garbage collection systems; Stormwater and greywater; system transparency.


6- Nourishing Food Systems

Think about your food – where it comes from, how it gets to you, your experience of eating it, and what happens with food waste…

  • What are you eating and how much do you know about it (where it comes from, who created it, what’s in it?)
  • What is your typical experience while eating a meal – feelings of nourishment, sensory experiences, social interactions, connection to the land, etc?
  • What would happen in your community if the grocery stores ran out of food during a crisis or natural disaster?

Additional ideas to consider: Social interactions and celebration; Processed; International and local sources; Food security; Preservation knowledge; Connections to the land and to the producer; Affordability; Gobbling or savoring.


7- Supportive Society

Think about the people around you – friends, family, and strangers; think about the social systems that are set up in your community, both formal and informal; think about the governance system in place…
Who are your neighbors, and do you know how they are doing?

  • Do you feel you “fit in” in your community, and are you happy with this fit or difference?
  • Do you feel you know of resources available to you or those you know should you need assistance or help?
  • How connected do you feel to the way your place functions – the civic processes and governmental policies that shape your community?

Additional ideas to consider: Smiling at strangers; Social interactions;  Homelessness and poverty; Community identity; Fear; Loneliness; Governance; Democracy; Representation; Assistance.


8- Healthy Prosperity

Think about how you make your living and/or meet your material needs…

  • Is your work meaningful to you? Do you feel like your needs are being met?
  • How do you balance meeting your needs with those of the earth and the people around you; are you comfortable with this balance?
  • What is your relationship to abundance?

Additional ideas to consider: Equity; Basic needs; Prosperity; Financial stress; Support; Philanthropy; Contribution; Assistance; Consumption; Accumulation of “stuff”; “Haves and have nots.”

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