People gain satisfaction by communing with those they value—and spaces that are aesthetically pleasing are an important aspect of that experience. We propose schoolyard master plans with features that would increase the sense of ownership by the school and the community:
When neighbors become invested in taking care of the schoolyard, as an amenity, this in turn eases the burden on parents as well as the school district to handle all of the maintenance. Active spaces also become safe spaces, which can be an important consideration in some urban areas.
The images below show designs for several schools that devise new spaces for members of the school community to gather.
Community space: The plan for the Bache-Martin School enables community members to reimagine the space. Here an underutilized service area becomes a “community porch”—perfect for an art show or an evening fundraiser.
Trellis: Shady, informal gathering spaces, like those in this plan for Stanton School, are especially useful at the beginning and end of the school day, when students and parents meet and mingle.
Seating: The plan for Bache-Martin School incorporates seating into a linear garden that allows individuals as well as groups to gather.
Stage or amphitheater: The plan for Stanton School creates a performance space that can also function as an outdoor classroom.
When planning and designing a schoolyard that encourages gathering, consider these elements: