− : A big city, grey walls, hasty people,
the subway should come.
A forest, green trees, moving leaves,
every now and then a tiny wind.
At first sight, these two scenarios clash violently. It seems that they are mutually contradictory. The only connection is possibly the wind, also blowing in the subway station when trains are arriving or leaving. But it is hard to imagine that both could go together. Life is closely connected to nature. Nature is an important part for quality of life. Many efforts are made to regenerate urban areas, since it is known, that nature effects well-being in an affirmative way. In the 19th century the English artist William Morris used this feature when he reacted with his work of wallpapers and gardens on the industrial movement and the therewith connected urbanisation. He wanted to bring nature back in the artificial environment. Japanese gardens or public parks are also methods to do so.
But not only nature, also silence is said to advantage health, as it is mentioned in the article »Sitting in silence − good for your health« (research 5/5/2006):
»(...) while slow meditative music induces a relaxing effect, it is the gap between the music that has greater benefits for your circulation system. (...) during the silent interval, study participants' heart and breathing rates and blood pressure fell further.«
But when both aspects have a positive influence on men, why is the combination of silence and nature in urban space nearly not existing? Green trees and moving leaves can be found in a park, but can you find there silence, too? Otherwise you can find silence in a library, but is there any nature?
Is a space − providing silence and nature − possible? People are often sheltered of silence in public spaces. Sound is used to kill the time, when you are waiting as in elevators or when placed on hold. As sound is linear structured, it gives orientation in time.
Silence seems to disorientate, as John Cage experimented in his piece »4:33«. Playing no music made the audience unsettled. Also in film this feature is used to thrill. When there is no sound, the beholder is kept in ignorance about the following action, time seems to stand still. Is silence a method to create the perception of slowed time? Going further, is it possible to create a moment of freedom with silence? Different religions try to do so in their meditation practices.