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Step into the Forest at Via Sol

This week, we’re talking about access to nature. Physical and visual access to natural spaces has a big impact on our physical and mental health as well as our social and personal wellbeing, yet many of us do not have adequate access to such an important resource. Via Sol is hoping to change that for our community.

Happy learning and happy living!


The PLACE Team:

Chris Velasco Elizabeth Bowling Alice Hiniker Todd Bagby


Multiple studies around the world have shown the significant positive impactsfor individuals and communities with access to natural spaces or to viewing images of nature. Experiencing natural environments can help calm our nervous systems, reducing stress, anxiety, and ADHD. Hospital patients with a view of nature recover faster than those without, and access to a natural space can help reduce burnout for those in stressful jobs, such as nursing. Quality green spaces in neighborhoods are even shown to increase civility and lower violence. After being immersed in nature, people often say they feel more generous, creative, cooperative, and kind. Can you imagine a world where everyone has regular opportunities to be in nature?


At Via Sol, residents and neighbors can access nature in our Urban Art Forest where the St. Louis Park community can walk the trails through this biologically diverse landscape. Those who visit it regularly will see the native baby trees and other plantings grow into a vibrant ecosystem. As it grows, the forest will increasingly provide fresh air, shade on hot days, stormwater management, and beauty for the community. Via Sol’s residents can enjoy the nature-inspired playground and gathering areas at the edge of the trees. Too cold or rainy to go outside? View it from the large glass windows and doors in Via Sol’s lobby or from the multiple shared balconies looking into the forest. In addition to its naturally growing wonders, PLACE is working with artists to integrate 3D and 2D artworks within and around the plantings. The Urban Art Forest of Via Sol will bring the community a dynamic and beautiful natural space, benefiting health and wellbeing for many years.


PLACE’s Via Sol community, a sustainable, transit-oriented community in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, producing its own food and energy, filled with art and imagination, offers healthy apartments and live/work space to households across the income spectrum.

Via Sol is currently under construction and expected to open in spring of 2022. Applications are now being accepted. For more information:

Email us at

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Call us at 612.444.2VIA (612.444.2842)

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