The article crossbreeds the approaches of different branches of knowledge to explore a recent and innovative way of designing and enjoying public urban spaces: the so-called «quiet gardens», planned to be shared both by the urban dwellers on the whole and by that part of them who are affected by dementias in the early-middle stage of advancement of the disease. Currently, there are no pharmacological strategies to cure these pathologies, and it is a questionable, though today widespread, strategy, that a cognitive stimulation could be an effective response to the problem. Actually, there is an alternative way to follow: when the cognitive capacity wanes, the identity and proprioception of an individual can be supported by sensorial stimulus. In this direction and during the last two decades, the concept of «Alzheimer’s garden», taken as an Hortus Conclusus, fenced in to safeguard a sort of «protected freedom», is evolving towards forms of «Healing Gardens» integrated into public urban spaces and enjoyed by every dweller. The second and third part of this article, relying on some of the more signi cant experiences in North-America, gives a basic check-list of the design criteria, develops a design simulation and pinpoints some ordinary criticalities (one of them by de nition unsolvable) of these trials of urban planning.
Keywords: Early Onset Dementias; Urban Design; Therapeutic Landscapes; Public Spaces.