Approaches using human issues in horticulture (HIH) offer new possibilities to develop nearby nature in cities, especially during a period of rapid urbanization in Finland. New initiatives have been developed in school gardening, environmental education, gardening in training programs for disabled people, therapeutic environments in hospitals and institutions, and in the University of Helsinki horticultural education and research programs. At the University of Helsinki, two contact teaching courses and national seminars were organized in 1996 and 1998. Initial studies in the HIH approach have three main themes: 1) gardening as a tool for better quality of life in homes for the elderly, 2) ecology, native plants and extensive maintenance in parks, and 3) the use of horticulture in environment and science education at the lower level of the comprehensive school.
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