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A Self-Healing Journey

Carissa Ma

César Torres-Bustamante

March 2021

As stated by the CDC, “1 in 5 Americans experience a mental illness in a given year”. Chronic long-term stress often greatly increases the risk of depression or anxiety and can lead to many other health problems such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. The Attention Restoration Theory has demonstrated that interacting with natural spaces can reduce stress and improve one’s overall health. However, more than 80% of Americans work and live in a highly urbanized area where they are put under conditions that lead to overwhelming stress. With LA’s necessity of green spaces and abundance of empty lots, this project focuses on transforming a series of vacant lots into pocket parks in one of the most stressed areas in the United States- Hollywood, Los Angeles. The sequence of designs explores and utilizes methods such as aromatherapy, exercise, and self-expression to comfort and relieve stress for users while conceptually symbolizing the journey of overcoming stress.

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Hi, my name is Carissa Ma. I was born and raised in Elk Grove, California. I often look forward to summers to spend time with my family and go traveling. In my free time, I like reading, watching k-dramas, listening to music, and hanging out with friends. I’ve been inspired by the music and artists that I have listened to, to promote mental health and ways to cope with stress. As someone who commonly deals with stress, I hope to incorporate the idea of improving one’s mental health with my interest in landscape architecture for my senior project.

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