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Transforming Philadelphia’s Schoolyards

Laying the path for a new planting bed at Lea Elementary School, just one of the many school and community projects that are greening schoolyards in Philadelphia.
Next Monday, the Community Design Collaborative and Philadelphia Water will be releasing Transforming Philadelphia’s Schoolyards, a “how-to” guide that presents the stories of three successful schoolyard makeovers, designs by Collaborative volunteers for eighteen School District of Philadelphia schoolyards, and key steps on the way to a green schoolyard.

On May 4th, the Community Design Collaborative and Philadelphia Water will release Transforming Philadelphia’s Schoolyards. The goal of this “how-to” guide is to help more schoolyards become green, eco-friendly places for learning as well as play—and active contributors to Philadelphia’s innovative stormwater management plan, Green City, Clean Waters

Transforming Philadelphia’s Schoolyards will help both schools and communities who are ready to seek a Design Grant from the Collaborative for a schoolyard project or who simply want to know how to do a green schoolyard project. The guide includes the following sections:

  • Case Studies share the stories of three schools with different resources, scales, and budgets who worked with the Collaborative and implemented schoolyard projects.
  • Steps to a Green Schoolyard breaks down the broader process that nonprofit school groups will undergo, from community organizing and the conceptual planning that the Collaborative provides, to later phases of fundraising, implementation, and stewardship.
  • Design Elements is a comprehensive, illustrated list of ideas Collaborative volunteers have integrated into schoolyard projects over the years, and explores how these elements can benefit students.

The schoolyards featured in the guide would not have happened without the help of more than 100 Collaborative volunteers. The last pages of the guide are devoted to recognizing the volunteers who contributed to each schoolyard project.

Come Celebrate!

We’ll celebrate the release of Transforming Philadelphia’s Schoolyards on Monday, May 4th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Center for Architecture, 1216 Arch Street. Come celebrate with us!

 The release event will include a panel discussion featuring the leaders of three successful schoolyard makeovers at Henry C. Lea Elementary School, Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School, and Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School, moderated by Mami Hara, Chief of Staff for Philadelphia Water. Panelists will include Julie Scott, West Philadelphia Neighborhood Coalition for Schools; Jeanne Ortiz, Wissahickon Sustainability Council; and Lisa Armstrong, AIA, LEED AP, Greening Greenfield, Albert M. Greenfield Home and School Association.

Everyone attending will receive a complimentary copy of the design guide.

The Guide Online

On May 4th, the guide will also be available to download.  Additional information, including schoolyard resources and a complete list of the Collaborative’s schoolyard greening projects, will also be available on our website.




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