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Grounds for learning : an exploration of the urban school landscape Ujimoto, Lisa 2001

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GROUNDS FOR LEARNING: AN EXPLORATION OF T H E URBAN SCHOOL LANDSCAPE by LISA UJIMOTO B . A . , University o f Victoria, 1996  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF L A N D S C A P E A R C H I T E C T U R E in ; "  "THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  THE FACULTY OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES Department of  Landscape Architecture  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E U N I V E R I S T Y OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A July 2001 © L i s a J. Ujimoto, 2001  In presenting  this  degree at the  thesis  in  partial fulfilment  of  University of  British Columbia,  I agree  freely available for reference copying  of  department publication  this or of  and study.  thesis for scholarly by  this  his  or  her  Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  requirements that the  I further agree  purposes  representatives.  may be It  thesis for financial gain shall not  permission.  DE-6 (2/88)  the  is  that  an  advanced  Library shall make it  permission for extensive  granted  by the  understood be  for  that  allowed without  head  of  my  copying  or  my written  ABSTRACT  The primary intent o f this thesis is to demonstrate how the schoolyard, through physical diversification focusing on a three-fold paradigmatic framework, can become a significant educational environment able to support the physical, cognitive and developmental skills i n children. Research is used as a tool to inform and support the designs. Discussed in the first two sections are the history and evolution o f school grounds, play and the environment, the effects o f place-identity on self-identity, as well as the power o f place i n pedagogy.  The design  framework is supported by precedent studies, intending to reflect the design principles, programs, ideas and values o f the ecological, curriculum-based and narrative landscape design layers. The final master plan design is an amalgamation o f these three layers, representing an educational setting that w i l l foster a dynamic interchange between children and their milieu.  T A B L E OF CONTENTS  ABSTRACT  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  iii  LIST O F F I G U R E S  v  S E C T I O N 1: I N T R O D U C T I O N  1  1.1  THESIS G O A L S & OBJECTIVES  2  1.2  HISTORY OF P L A Y SPACES IN N O R T H A M E R I C A  2  i.  3  1.3  Historical Models o f Urban School Grounds  PLAY A N D THE ENVIRONMENT  4  i i . Historical & Contemporary Influences o f Play Environments i i i . Play and Culture  4 5  S E C T I O N 2: C H I L D R E N ' S E X P E R I E N C E O F P L A C E 2.1  2.2  2.3  2.4  CHILDREN'S REPRESENTATION OF S P A C E  7  i . Spatial theories o f Jean Piaget i i . Development o f Spatial Concepts  7 8  i i i . Spatial Perceptions in Childhood  9  SELF-IDENTITY & P L A C E IDENTITY  10  i. Environmental Context and Development i i . The C h i l d and Place Identity  10 11  i i i . Cultural Influences on Childhood  12  PLACE & PEDAGOGY  13  i. Power o f Place  13  i i . Children's Study o f Place i i i . Children and the Built Environment iv. Multi-Sensory Environments v. The Power o f Nature CONCLUSION  14 15 17 18 19  S E C T I O N 3: P R E C E D E N T STUDIES 3.1  INTRODUCTION  20  3.2  ECOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES  20  i. R o y Lee Walker Elementary School  21  3.3  3.4  i i . Washington Elementary School  21  CURRICULUM-BASED LANDSCAPES  22  i.  22  Gateway School  i i . Santa Fe Children's Museum  23  NARRATIVE LANDSCAPES  24  i. Reggio E m i l i a Schools i i . Village of Yorkville Park  24 25  S E C T I O N 4: T H E SITE - H I S T O R Y & C O N T E X T 4.1  4.2  REGIONAL COMMUNITY CONTEXT  26  i. Collingwood: Regional History ii. Community Planning and Development i i i . Climatology o f Vancouver  26 27 27  SIR G U Y C A R L E T O N E L E M E N T A R Y SCHOOL  28  i. ii. iii. iv.  28 29 30 30  History of the School Schoolyard Zones Hydrology and Drainage Views, Circulation and Noise  S E C T I O N 5: T H E D E S I G N - C O N C E P T & P R O G R A M 5.1  INTRODUCTION  31  5.2  DESIGN CRITERIA  32  5.3  DESIGN F R A M E W O R K  33  i . Ecological Landscape Design ii. Curriculum-based Design iii. Narrative Design  34 37 40  M A S T E R P L A N DESIGN  4  5.4  BIBLIOGRAPHY  4  49  iv  LIST O F F I G U R E S P= Photo  M= Map  D= Drawing  P 1  Roy Lee Walker Elementary  21  P2  Gateway School  22  P 3  Santa Fe Children's Museum  23  P 4  Reggio Emilia, The Diana School  24  P5  Yorkville Park  25  M 1  Regional plan o f Vancouver districts: Renfrew-Collingwood  26  M 2  Renfrew-Collingwood boundary plan  26  M 3  Community Land-Use Pattern  27  M 4  Aerial photo o f Sir Guy Carleton School & area  27  M 5  Vancouver School Board Reference M a p  28  M 6  Sir Guy Carleton School catchment area  28  P6  Photos o f School Structures  29  M 7  Vancouver School Board existing plan of Sir G u y Carleton School  29  M8  Plan o f Schoolyard Zones  29  M9  Plan o f Hydrology & Drainage  30  M 10  Plan o f Views, Circulation and Noise  30  D 1  Ecological Landscape Plan  35  D 2  Ecological Landscape Sections & Elevations  36  D 3  Curriculum-based Landscape Plan  38  D 4  Curriculum-based Landscape Sections & Elevations  39  D5  Narrative Landscape Plan  41  D 6  Narrative Landscape Sections & Elevations  42  D7  Master Plan  43  D 8  Master Plan Sections & Elevations  46  SECTION 1  INTRODUCTION  There was a child wentforth every day, And the first object he looked upon, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day, Or for many years or stretching cycles of years... Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1871  Schools aim to provide their students with learning environments that stimulate the mind, empowering them through scholarship and communication with a heightened sense o f place within their community. Children's relationship with the urban school environment plays a significant role i n the shaping o f their future visions, values and character. Unburdened by affairs o f the adult realm and indifferent to time, they experience the landscape through a unique lens, reflecting a world that evokes fantasy and imagination (Tuan 1974). A powerfully symbolic place that is read and deconstructed at the macro and micro level by its users, the school ground is a reflection o f what the child could think, feel and do i n that space (Titman 1994).  Children spend a significant time i n their school environment. Both the quality o f student life and the quality o f education are directly affected by the quality o f the school environment (Sanoff, 41). Although the very structure o f children's lives have drastically altered since the inception o f the North American playground i n the early twentieth century, little has changed in the outdoor environment designated solely to the youngest members o f society. Despite reevaluation o f curricula and pedagogical theories inside the classroom, the tradition o f segregating the programs o f indoor/outdoor learning environments has continued to endure.  1  THESIS GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The primary intent o f this thesis is to demonstrate how the schoolyard, through physical diversification focusing on a three-fold paradigmatic framework, can become a significant educational environment able to support the physical, cognitive and developmental skills in children. There exist a myriad o f issues surrounding urban school ground revitalization that range from providing a landscape o f positive value on child development, to establishing a place with strong ties to the community. The primary objectives to be addressed within the scope o f this project are as follows:  •  To determine how children read and interpret the landscape as a key to developing a school ground that responds to their spatial and developmental needs.  •  To apply knowledge o f the childhood developmental process to the design o f spaces for children.  •  To examine the role o f environmental education in contemporary society and its influence on the development o f school ground settings.  •  To explore the culture o f play i n childhood development and examine how the landscape can enhance learning experiences.  •  T o explore how educational principles and objectives can be translated into operative design concepts.  •  To illustrate how a schoolyard situated i n the urban environment can respond to and work with ecological, cultural and learning needs o f children and the community to which they belong.  HISTORY OF PLAY SPACES IN NORTH AMERICA A n increase i n urban playgrounds i n late nineteenth century America lead to the belief that by providing children with proper play areas, not only could their behavior be controlled but foundations for a better society would be established. Imitating German models o f play centresfor children, a North American movement to enrich the environment for the city's youngest citizens by creating accessible public open space was formed. Social reformer Joseph Riis envisioned these areas as vehicles o f social improvement, strengthening the bonds o f the family  2  and preserving the dignity o f the poor (Brett 1993). The era preceding W o r l d War I saw the institutionalization o f the playground i n American society. Despite a sundry o f limitations, these organized play spaces acknowledged the presence o f children in the city, providing them with places where they could be seen and heard where few such opportunities had existed before. However, the growing movement o f organized play for children faced challenges that still hold relevance today. It has been contended that this movement toward standardized and structured recreation attempts to control the lives and experience o f urban youth, thus limiting the opportunities for them to create their own experiences.  Historical Models of Urban School Grounds Investigation into the original purpose o f school grounds, from the inception o f the school as educational institution, reveals an inclination to lean toward positivist reasoning and utilitarian planning. A diametrical stand over the roles o f the indoor and outdoor built environments was established early on, with more value placed on the structure o f the indoor classroom i n comparison with the pedagogical merit granted to the outdoor landscape.  The outdoor school environment was primarily conceived as a place that would allow for children's physical development through team sports and character-building game activities (Stine 1997). Physical movement that took place during recreational hours determined the site configuration, which was pragmatic i n structure and simple i n design. The first half o f the 2 0  th  Century gave rise to a militaristic schoolyard model that called for the control and containment of children within school boundaries (ibid.). A reflection o f this Military M o d e l is projected in the physical environments that constitute the majority o f school grounds that exist today.  The post W o r l d War II era saw the rise o f industrialization and its influence on schoolyard organization, where emphasis was put on production and achievement (Adams i n Stine 1997). Children's landscapes were reflections o f the ethics, ideologies and issues o f the time, resulting in an expectation that equipment be durable, low-maintenance and free o f liability. The influence o f the military and factory models established precedents for educational environmental design that present-day schools have inherited, from the sea o f asphalt paving to the chain link fences that encircle school grounds. A s a result, potential for the school ground to  3  serve as an outdoor classroom and reflect a particular culture would not be realized. It would instead become a space where children could release the stresses o f academic work.  PLAY AND THE ENVIRONMENT Historical and Contemporary Influences of Outdoor Play Environments The ideologies o f pioneer play theorists informed the direction the playground movement would take in North America. The eighteenth-century Romantic Movement witnessed a change i n the perspective o f play, elevating it to an everyday activity that epitomized the essence o f freedom. Play was seen as the key to unlocking children's potential, turning natural activity into one laden with purpose. However, Victorian society and industry defined play and leisure as a rare event that was categorized as abnormal i n comparison to the normal work ethic o f the time (Cohen 1987). It can be debated as to whether this view o f play continues to endure in present day society. While early theorists focused on why children play, contemporary theorists have centralized their research on why play in childhood may be significant for growth and development (Hartle 1993). Formal research on play and its effects on the human condition began to develop i n the late nineteenth-century with three main branches o f play emerging from this research: the cognitive value o f play, the emotional value o f play and the social value o f play i n humans (Cohen 1987).  Once dismissed as superfluous behavior o f the human species, educators, researchers and child development specialists are now recognizing play as a vital tool i n shaping children's potential for cognitive, social, physical, and emotional growth (Bergen 1987; Kelly-Byrne 1984 i n Hartle 1993). Evolving views surrounding environmental influences on play potential have contributed to the expanding interest o f outdoor play environments and its significance on child development. The perspective shared by early play theorists Lazarus (1883) and Patrick (1916) stemmed from the belief that play was a recreational activity intended to restore and rejuvenate. Their position supported the view o f the limited value attributed to play on cognitive development. Therefore, the school curriculum fostered learning inside the classroom and physical revitalization outdoors. Furthermore, the play theories o f Spencer, Lazarus, Gutsmuth, as well as Dutch student o f human and animal behavior, K a r l Groos, influenced tenets that  4  recognized play as a period o f evolutionary development. The effects o f these beliefs are reflected i n existing apparatuses made o f iron and steel over asphalt.  Groos (1901) saw play as functional and considered the adaptive purposes o f play, connecting physical activities such as swinging and climbing, to various stages o f evolutionary development (Hartle 1993). This thesis however has been disputed by other theorists, stating that the motives o f play include the "desire o f increased skill, the pleasure o f make believe... to emulate, to excel" (Cohen 1987). Today, some branches o f contemporary thinking postulates that play is an activity that is self-initiated, spontaneous and voluntary, demanding that children remain i n control as it is building upon their cognitive structures and awareness (Greenman 1988).  Perhaps French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, was the first to uphold the theory that play acts as an important element in childhood development. In his work, Emile, Rousseau writes o f his thoughts on the ideal education for adolescents; free exploration o f the natural habitat would lead to enrichment o f the imagination and building o f bodily strength. The child should gain "easy and voluntary control o f movement which nature demands o f them... work or play are all one... provided that both are carried out with the charm o f freedom" (Rousseau). Taking this view into consideration, educators such as Pestalozzi, Froebel and Montessori realized the positive potential o f play as a learning tool on children (Cohen 1987). Recognition o f play as a critical instrument on children's cognitive, social and affective development expanded with the influence o f aforementioned contemporary theorists. Where Rousseau "rhapsodized play", (Cohen 1987) Montessori schools emphasized the potential for self-improvement, seeing play as a means through which formal skills could be taught.  Play and Culture There exists an important relationship between children's behavior and the way i n which their physical contexts affect their activities. Cultural-ecological models o f behavior and development have emphasized three interacting layers o f environmental influence on children's play: physical/social elements; historical influences; and cultural/ideological beliefs (Roopnarine, Johnson and Hooper 1994). Donald Winnicott speaks o f the true purpose o f play as the "intermediary process linking the child's internal life to her physical surroundings" (Cosco and  5  Moore 1999). A s a prevailing activity that is experienced by children o f all nationalities, play is an activity that both affects and is affected by cultural influences. One o f the main bases o f civilization, play can be viewed as a manifestation o f culture, "an indicator and expression o f childhood development" and an important context i n which interaction and learning crucial to growth takes place (Bloch and Pellegrini 1989). According to developmental theorist Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979), environmental influences are powerful instruments i n the construction of children's knowledge and perceptions. In social terms, development is defined as follows: "The developmental status o f the individual is reflected in the substantive variety and structural complexity o f the... activities which he initiates and maintains in the absence o f instigation or direction o f others" (Garbarino 1989). Childhood development takes place as an interaction among the child, the structuring o f his surroundings and the complexity o f interacting environmental systems (Bloch and Pellegrini.).  There is consensus among developmentalists and educators that the context i n which play takes place influences play experiences (Hart 1993). Bronfenbrenner identifies how the forces o f the social environment influence children's play within a framework o f interacting environmental systems: the child's micro-setting and the mesosystem. A combination o f the physical setting and the behavioral interaction in which children experience and create reality, the micro-system represents the places i n which they live and the activities that occur i n these places. M i c r o modeling o f places gives children a powerful understanding o f their environment and the processes that surround them (Shaw 1987). The mesosystem embodies the relationships between microsystems such as relations between home, school and neighbourhood, an environment's cultural ideologies, values, social patterns and institutional policies (Garbarino 1989).  N o one theory in particular can fully illustrate the diversity o f play and sufficiently explain its importance in human development. They must be reviewed collectively to comprehend the psychological and social benefits that eventuate from play within the physical setting. These benefits include an awareness o f the scope o f adult roles; the ability to deal with emotional conflict; the discovery o f physical processes; the principles o f spatial relationships; establishing a sense o f control over the environment; and the development o f a sense o f environmental competence (Shaw 1987).  6  SECTION II  CHILDREN'S EXPERIENCE OF PLACE  "A good place is one which is, in some way, appropriate to the person and her culture, makes her aware of her community, her past, the web of life and the universe of time and space in which these are contained." K e v i n Lynch, A Theory of Good City Form, 1997  CHILDREN'S REPRESENTATION OF SPACE Spatial Theories of Jean Piaget There exist various elements that should be questioned and clarified when considering the role of the physical environment's role i n children's lives, such as the difference between space and place. Space embodies the physical properties that can be measured and touched: walls, fences, entries and exits. Place, as referred to by K e v i n Lynch, pertains to identity and meaning. The significance o f place emanates from the interactions between the users and their interactions with the qualities o f the physical framework (Cosco and Moore 1999).  In a study conducted by Swiss genetic epistemologist and psychologist Jean Piaget and colleagues, they concluded that the understanding and representation o f space occurs as a result of extensive manipulation o f objects and from movement through the physical environment (Hart 1979). Knowledge o f the spatial organization o f landscapes is not only constructed from perception alone but from the coordination o f actions as well. Self-discovery for children transpires through their transaction with both the physical and social worlds. The stability o f the physical setting presents a valuable domain for the development o f self-identity in children, as it resists change to a child's actions. It rather reflects the manipulations the child imposes on the environment (Shaw 1987). Enabling the child to transform the environment builds on his sense of environmental competence, which is defined as "the knowledge, skill and confidence to use the environment to carry out one's goals and to enrich one's experience" (Saegert & Hart i n Ibid.  7  Piaget, whose basic epistemological tenets derive from constructivism, carried out the most extensive and inclusive theory o f the development o f children's understanding o f spatial concepts. This theory assumes that what is perceived to be real is in reality, a construction o f thought. From his theory on genetic epistemology, which "reveals the structure o f knowledge empirically and developmentally rather than strictly philosophically," he concludes that all development is dependent on interaction between maturation, socialization and the relationship between the child and its environment (Hart 1979).  Development of Spatial Concepts Piaget was able to distinguish the four structures o f spatial organization i n correspondence to the principal periods o f child development. These are the sensorimotor period, pre-operational period, concrete operational period and formal operational period, with each cycle identifying with sensorimotor space, pre-operational space, concrete operational space and the formal operational space (Ibid). Spatial perception transforms with development, shifting from a multisensory perception o f space to a visually oriented understanding in adulthood. While young children have a greater tendency to utilize all the senses i n spatial perception, reliance on the visual field, based on distance, direction and height, minimizes the roles the other senses play in discriminating objects i n adulthood (Bower i n Hart 1979).  Piaget contended that the concept o f adaptation plays an integral role as motivator for all biological and psychological development. Intelligence, as one form o f adaptation i n human beings, is not an innate quality but transpires through a complex interaction between the individual and his environment. According to his findings, experience can be initiated and structured by a child as the process o f adaptation to the environment takes place (Hart 1979). A child's ability to reflect upon space is deliberated in Piaget's research on sensorimotor space or what geographer David Seamon has termed "bodily-lived space", which is the "notion o f a pre-conscious space o f action based upon bodily movements and actions" (Seamon 1977). It is important that children understand and relate with their surrounding landscape. Environmental images, as proposed by K e v i n Lynch, help i n implementing a strong relationship between people and their surroundings. They achieve this by acting as the basis for "activity and  8  knowledge, as material for common memories which bind a group together, and as spatial referents for sense o f familiarity" (Hart 1979).  Spatial Perceptions in Childhood Spatial relations between an individual and the physical setting rely on two variables: the child's idiosyncratic use o f space and the environment's structuring (Fitt 1974). The spatial world o f children takes on a critical role in determining their reaction to the environment. Character o f space assumes some level o f significance i n the way children identify with their surroundings. Their sharp sense o f discovery and curiosity allows for a far more direct and energetic response to the environment compared to the perceptions o f an adult. Uncovering the dialectics o f highness and lowness, nearness and farness, hardness and softness, light and dark in the urban environment exposes children to a dynamic world full o f movement, transition and wonderment. It can be said that "prepositionally rich" spaces also enhance children's experiences in the physical setting. Places that are brimming with energy, allowing children to jump from, climb up, crawl into, be near, within, against, across from and beside objects, encourage physical interaction with the environment. Connection leads to participation, giving young people a sense o f ownership over the landscape. Through the process o f unraveling the mysteries o f a landscape do children truly locate themselves within their surroundings - revealing a world o f order, variety and complexity (Paterson).  It has been found that spatial quality i n the juvenile years takes on a more critically defined structure compared to the way in which adults view their environment. In The Child in the City, C o l i n Ward examines the environmental perceptions o f L y n c h and Piaget, expanding on their theories o f 1) cognitive mapping and 2) the d e v e l o p m e n t a l tradition o f investigation. It was L y n c h who conceived o f the notion that the city concept be structured around paths, edges, districts, nodes and landmarks. The spatial impressions o f children are also critically defined by a preoccupation with "paths and boundaries, with hiding places and other special places for particular things" (Ward 1990).  Children value paths they find or establish themselves versus pathways built by city planners. Wandering along pathways permits time for quiet introspection, social interaction and  9  contemplation o f the surroundings. A slow journey down a path can expose a child to one thousand and one sensory delights, allowing them to experience the sights, sounds and smells o f their urban environment. Continuity, topographical qualities and distinguishable characteristics play significant roles in how children identify with paths within their surroundings. Edges or barriers, which are "more or less penetrable," create separate spaces for children within each region (Lynch 1960).  In the early days o f educational theory, Piaget expanded on a three-fold developmental theory that looked into children's concept o f space. He discovered that after grasping the concepts o f 'topographical' relationships, which include proximity, separation, order, enclosure and continuity, children are then able to understand projective space. This stage enables the child to negotiate alternative routes around the physical setting i n which he/she lives. The third stage according to Piaget is the formal operational stage, at which time the child is able to comprehend Euclidean space. This allows for an understanding o f spatial relationships i n the abstract (Ward 1990). The cognitive mapping and developmental theories o f L y n c h and Piaget have laid the foundation for comprehension o f children's spatial perceptions. However they remain open-ended, leaving more room for further study.  SELF-IDENTITY & PLACE IDENTITY "Places and their descriptions within a society connote a set of images, values, and meanings about people which influence their development and their sense of themselves." Wolfe & R i v l i n , 1987  Environmental Context and Development Human development relies on a number o f factors that contribute to the natural progression from early childhood to adolescence. A child's physical setting plays a significant role i n determining development through to adulthood; the contexts for development being the child's biological heritage, cultural context, social and economic context, the subculture and community as well as the surrounding environment (Sroufe, Cooper, DeHart and Marshall  10  1992). To be examined in this section is the environmental context, which implies more than the physical setting but "all external conditions and factors potentially capable o f influencing an organism" (Greenman 1988). The landscape is the setting i n which life takes place, the "sensualintellectual perception o f which constitutes meaning and value" (Corner 1991).  The physical setting is an instrumental force in shaping the form and nature o f social contacts, as well as influencing feelings o f identity and self-worth (Greenman 1988). A s development reaches greater heights o f complexity i n play, intellect and word, the child's perception of the surrounding environment is constructed. Places and their portrayals within a society mark certain images, values and meanings about people, which i n turn influence their development and self-identity (Wolfe and R i v l i n 1987). The ever-changing framework o f the urban environment changes the frequency, diversity and intensity o f human relationships, as well as the physical setting. Home, school and community form places o f greater complexity for the child which demands increased learning demands on the individual (Proshansky and Fabian 1987).  The C h i l d and Place Identity The field o f environmental psychology has recently considered the manners i n which children interpret the environment and how they derive meaning, purpose, form and structure from it. Spatial discourse results i n a strong sense o f place identity, which is understood by environmental psychologists "as a substructure o f the person's self-identity that is comprised o f cognition about the physical environment that also serve to define who the person is" (Proshansky and Fabian 1987). H o w their development shapes and influences the physical setting is also an issue that has brought about speculation i n the domain o f development psychology. It has been found that the process o f socialization and self-discovery occurs incrementally, commencing with individuation. Sensory stimulation and perceptual experiences found i n the physical setting plays a significant role i n childhood formation. Places that reflect a certain familiarity, giving children control o f their environment help to uphold the integrity o f • the child's sense o f self, together with definition o f that self (Ibid). Children capture their environmental experiences through objects, places and spaces that fulfill their biological, social, physical and cultural requirements. M a n y o f the social roles,  11  environmental skills and relationships are learned within the contexts o f home, school and outdoor play areas. Through these settings, the child w i l l later recognize, evaluate, create and manipulate physical settings and places (Ibid). The school setting itself plays an integral role in place identity development i n the child. The impressions, attitudes, skills and views as a result of exposure i n the institutional context help mould the identity o f the young child. Connection to childhood places and spaces, according to human geographers Tuan (1980), Relph (1976) and Buttimer (1980), has been termed "place belongingness" (Ibid).  In childhood, the foundation for self-discovery begins with the surrounding environment (Cobb 1977). These are places whose content and meaning play a significant role i n giving form and structure to a child's experience o f the world (Norberg-Schulz in Relph 1976). The notion o f perceptual space, or the egocentric space perceived and encountered by each individual is imbued with meaning and is centered on immediate needs and practices (Relph 1976). Space is discerned not only through the senses but is an entity unto which emotional ties are formed. For the child, space is complete with substance and meaning deriving both from human intention and imagination (Ibid).  Cultural Influences on Childhood Development Human development takes place within a set o f interwoven and interacting contexts: the biological context, the child's immediate environment, social and economic domains as well as cultural realms. The environment within which human development occurs is structured largely on a society's culture (Sroufe, Coooper, DeHart and Marshall 1992). Children are highly influenced by the subculture within the culture itself, taking into consideration the norms and values that surround them. A n understanding o f one's culture gives form to the children's identity and depth to their participation i n society. However, it has been stipulated that modern education has tended to act as a homogenizing force that fails to promote locality i n the modern curriculum (Orr 1994).  Culture can be classified as the learned behavior with a biological basis, and "results o f behavior whose elements are shared and transmitted by members o f a particular society" (Lang 1977). Born clean o f any notions o f cultural references, a child creates his own world image by  12  translating his innate biological cognitive perceptions into cultural terms: Before cultural' interpretation is grasped and bears a broader and more profound control o f meaning, the perception i n childhood is general and poetic (Cobb 1977). The desire to learn by exploration and the necessity to link learning with growth peaks during the latency period, one o f the 3 phases o f childhood as described by Freud. This period o f childhood (4 to 12 years o f age) remains the fundamental, dynamic phase o f human development.  For the child, the cognitive process is a "sensory integration o f self and environment" that allows for recognition o f the fact that "he makes his own w o r l d . . . his body is a unique instrument, where the powers o f nature and human nature meet" (Cobb 1977). Human cognitive processes continue to be grounded i n perception, where relations between systems i n nature and systems o f the body can be arranged into form and meaning. In childhood, the power o f the body and mind and the energies o f the environment merge together in order to adapt to nature, to culture and to the society man has created to embody this culture (Ibid).  PLACE AND PEDAGOGY "Places are laboratories of diversity and complexity, mixing social functions and natural processes. A place has a human history and a geological past; it is a part of an ecosystem with a variety of microsystems, it is a landscape with a particular flora and fauna. A place can be understood only on its terms as a complex mosaic of phenomena and problems." David Orr, Ecological Literacy, 1992  Power of Place Good learning places can stimulate the imagination, combining nature, interesting architecture, materials and lighting i n ways that are attune with our intrinsic affinity for life (Orr 1994). Place, defined by Edward Relph, is "the location plus everything that occupies that location seen as an integrated and meaningful phenomenon" (Relph 1976). The essence o f place is tied to human consciousness and experience, settings that conjure a complexity o f emotions and responses. In an essay composed i n 1897, John Dewey proposed that the idea o f place could be used as a powerful tool to educate children, one that would instill a sense o f community and 13  culture into the curriculum. Being o f the opinion that the educational framework had become highly narrow and specialized, Dewey intended to broaden its focus by strengthening its relations with the community. H e proposed to make the icon o f school into an embryonic community, creating a curriculum that would truthfully reflect the crafts and occupations o f society (Relph 1976).  Reflection o f Thoreau's Walden reveals similar attitudes toward the relevance o f integrating the study o f place i n the curriculum. A proposal that invites observation and experimentation into education, Walden represents "the possible unity between personhood, pedagogy and place" (Orr 1992). In his interpretation o f the present disregard for place i n education, D a v i d Orr suggests that for displaced people, place is an obscure concept that no longer represents our source o f "food, livelihood, recreation or sacred inspiration. The study o f place enables us to widen the focus to examine the interrelationships between disciplines and to lengthen our perception o f time" (Ibid). Place identity is seen as specific to the observer, not only in how it is perceived physically but the experience it evokes i n the mind. Although the generation o f place identity is given self-consciously or unselfconsciously by the individual, through cultural conditioning and interpretation, these identities are combined to form a common identity (Nairn 1965).  Children's Study of Place A child's physical setting plays an integral role i n shaping the young mind. Integrating the qualities o f place into the curriculum would broaden one's intellectual scope, combining elements taught within the classroom with experience attained outside. The study o f place encompasses various facets o f intellect including direct observation, investigation, experimentation and skill i n the application o f knowledge. Lecture and discussion would find a companion i n the application o f practical and manual skills, from which would result logical thought, constructive imagination and a grasp o f reality gained through this tangible experience (Nairn 1965). Patterns o f place are mirrored i n the cognition, creativity and personality o f the observer. Therefore, to understand the roots o f a place and one's role i n that space is to be possess a strong sense o f one's identity. Crucial to development is diversity o f place content,  14  which initiates activity that, in turn imprints the times and spaces o f experience i n the memory o f the child (Cosco and Moore 1999).  Children and the Built Environment Recent findings i n developmental and environmental psychology stipulate that the physical environment has a significant impact on children's behavior. There has been an attempt i n these fields to establish theoretical relationships between the behavior and the experiences a person may have i n the built environment. Children's interpretation o f the physical setting plays a strong role i n determining how they define themselves and their future relationship with the environment (Cullingford 1996). Qualities o f the physical setting can influence the developmental process as much o f the young child's time is spent interacting with the physical, rather than the social environment (David and Weinstein 1987). The environment in childhood education can be defined here as the "interpersonal climate or the organizational structure o f settings" such as classrooms and schools (Gump 1975; Weinstein 1979 i n Moore 1985). The built environment plays an influential role i n early cognitive development and can be viewed in ecological, interactional and transactional terms. A child's ecological surroundings provide the setting for cognitive development, while development through a sequence o f transactions with the socio-physical environment occurs at the same time (Moore 1985). The environment thus becomes a canvas within which the child may explore, discover, test and initiate new ideas and behaviors. A s a result o f this active participation within the environment does childhood development occur.  It has been theorized that children's behavior is a function o f the interaction between the person and the environment (Hartle 1993). A m o n g child developmentalists and educators lies a consensus that the environment in which play occurs influences the experiences encountered by the child (Christie and Johnsen in Hart, 1993). Landscape is an expression o f boundless possibility laden with meaning that embraces the four domains o f development. Deeply rooted in the physical setting are the meanings o f places that can evoke memory, rapture, familiarity, sanctity, belonging, and reflection. Places that stimulate motor skill development, offer possibilities for decision-making and broaden the scope o f fantasy play and constructive learning have repercussions on social arid cognitive skills, determining how children interact  15  with their environment and each other. The school landscape not only constitutes the physical setting in which these skills and capabilities can be acquired and tested, it is a place that has the ability to express and support physical, cognitive, social and emotional development that are fundamental to the growth o f children (Herringtbn 1997).  In a research study conducted by David and Weinstein, they focus on a twofold framework inquiry based on children and the built environment. First, the pair focuses on what is known about the nature o f children's interactions with the physical setting and secondly, how knowledge about children and the developmental process can be applied to the design o f children's spaces. The result o f this investigation is seven guiding propositions to direct the exploration on interactions between children and the built environment.  •  "The built environment has both direct and symbolic impacts on children." A child may interpret the aims and values o f the adults who control the setting through the nature o f their environment by way o f symbolic imagery and messages (Proshansky & Wolfe 1974). Cognitive development and self-image are affected by environmental influences.  •  "Study of the built environment and children's development will benefit from a multi-setting perspective."  •  "All built environments for children should serve certain common functions with respect to children's development: to foster personal identity; to encourage the development of competence; to provide opportunities for growth; to promote a sense of security and trust; and to allow both social interaction and privacy."  •  There are substantial individual and cultural variations in the use and interpretation of settings.  •  Wherever possible, children should be active participants in the planning and arrangement of the physical settings in which they live.  •  The impact of the built environment must be examined in the context of the social, cultural system.  16  •  Children are not the only users of homes, schools, and special-care environments.  A fear has arisen i n modern-day society that its citizens have become passive receivers o f prescribed information from secondary sources. Consequently, this has put a limit on opportunities for self-initiated interaction with the community. The onslaught o f centralized systems such as mass housing, franchised systems and urban renewal are provoking what Richard Sennett calls "purification" o f the urban environment. This purified thinking may lead to a reinforcement o f the trend towards urban monoculture and an alienating mode o f living (Moore 1986). Bias towards conventional play centres has created sterile, segregated spaces for children across the urban milieu. It has been said that the deficiencies i n an urban environment can be measured i n proportion to the number o f playgrounds that exist i n the city. These types of landscapes function within a fixed framework, only able to offer the child a limited range o f sensory, physical and intellectual experiences. Traditional playgrounds have failed to make a valuable contribution to the urban landscape, having become dominated by prefabricated equipment on a sea o f asphalt. Deprived o f challenge and exposed to a world i n which nature has been domesticated to make it a more intimate part o f human experience puts limits on children's behavior and reasoning.  Multi-Sensory Environments Public outdoor space is most widely used by children, frequently using it at a ratio o f 10 to 1 to adults as a great extent o f their free time is spent outdoors (Cooper Marcus 1974). Environments that engage the mind and body provide children with versatile settings that encourage self-expression, creating places that support interaction with the external world. Place-enhancing processes, activated through play, define the environment beyond the confines of everyday life, helping children achieve a sense o f belonging, identity, and ownership (Cosco and Moore 1999). The physical setting acts as the backdrop to children's activities. Its properties remain significant to the growth and development o f the child, communicating a myriad o f messages to its users. Supplying the context, structure and meaning to those who use the space, the physical setting is able to convey the culture o f place through the richness o f its contents (Titman 1994).  17  Physical interaction with environments vast i n multi-sensory stimulation plays an essential role in the development and health o f children. Space provides the domain i n which the body encounters gravity and masters the use o f kinesthetic (sense o f movement), proprioceptive (sense o f position) and vestibular (sense o f gravity and whole body movement) senses (Cosco and Moore 1999). The interplay between the environment and the senses creates an arena that emphasizes multi-sensory development beyond movement as well: vision, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Perception o f the surrounding landscape and the way i n which it is acted upon presents contrasts between childhood and the adult realm. Capacity for v i v i d sensory experience is a quality that most adults lose as they age due to an actual measurable physical decline in sensitivity to taste, to smells, to colour and to sound (Ward 1990). Children, on the other hand, possess genuine sensory perceptiveness for different qualities i n the landscape, whether it is a change i n surface textures, the sweet fragrance o f flowers or a variation i n topography. Experience o f place is heightened for the senses i n urban environments that offer strong visual identity, sharp visual contrast, auditory variation and olfactory diversity.  The body-in-space permits the child to experience a physical interchange with the landscape through the senses. Complementary to the body-in-space is the body-in-time, which strives to develop an understanding o f the play activity i n space: the flow o f movement, changing seasons, the familiar and the mysterious, the time o f distance, the shadows o f twilight, the light o f the sun (Cosco and Moore 1999). The structure o f the environment helps in determining play activity. The interplay between the child and the composition o f the physical setting is instrumental in internalizing society, developing new skills, solving problems and building on social skills (Ibid).  The Power of Nature Design that reveals the complexities o f the natural world creates a sense o f harmony and understanding with the universe in which we live. This perception o f unity strengthens the child's sense o f identity as an individual and as part o f a collective group, which is a significant factor i n childhood development. Design that is sensitive to nature's processes and their temporal cycles can give children access to a deeper understanding o f the past and the future (Spirn 1988). In the presence o f nature, more holistic attitudes are cultivated, allowing people to draw energy from the life o f plants, trees and water (Kaplan 1983).  18  Biophilia has been defined by E . O. Wilson (1984) as an innate orientation towards nature and the "urge to affiliate with other forms o f life" (Orr 1994). This love o f nature begins in early childhood and resonates into cultural and social patterns. However, modernization has changed how humans regard the natural environment and our role in the world. It can be asked i f nature as unorganized environment is attainable i n the highly structured places o f the urban world. Enlightening children to the benefits o f biophilia w i l l lead to a kinship for life that w i l l nurture, validate the ties to the natural environment, and i n turn, people and the community. Establishment o f more natural places, replicating natural systems and functions, greater contact with nature may strengthen the w i l l to reinhabit the surrounding regions, restore the local culture and restore the natural history o f places (Orr 1994).  Comprehension o f the dynamics o f user-landscape interaction is key to child-environment relations (Moore 1986). Robin Moore continues these thoughts i n his book, Childhood's Domain, by stating, " A n emphasis on landscape diversity w i l l lead to the creation o f more viable child-accommodating open spaces-instead o f mown grass and asphalt." In order to stimulate the senses o f young urbanites, environmental variance is needed, which w i l l i n turn give them a balance o f urban and rural elements.  CONCLUSION The school ground continues and w i l l continue to be a learning landscape for children o f the urban domain. Y o u n g students draw upon their imaginations to capture the carefree spirit o f play from an environment that is shaped with their physical, emotional and cognitive needs i n mind. Total integration o f children into the physical setting calls for in depth exploration o f how school landscapes can be made more engaging and accommodating. The challenge lies in accomplishing this while meeting the economic, social and cultural needs o f society at the same time. Creating places that reveal the complexities and delights o f the urban schoolyard w i l l inspire children to become a part o f their school and community, and i n the process, their landscape w i l l become a part o f them.  19  SECTION III  PRECEDENT STUDIES: FRAMEWORK FOR ECOLOGICAL, CONTEXTUAL & CURRICULUM-BASED LANDSCAPES  Designers o f contemporary landscapes are attempting to delve deeper into the child's psyche i n the pursuit to discover the ideal landscape that w i l l inspire, instruct and invigorate. There remains a challenge for modern urban environments to satisfy all the requirements that w i l l support the emotional, physical and perceptual needs o f a child. Creating spaces that provide sensory stimulation, support a wide range o f moods, energy levels and social development, focus on detailed ground surfaces, colour, and texture and accommodate the child's need to manipulate the environment is a formidable task that requires distancing from the adult realm o f thought (Cooper Marcus 1998).  The following case studies were used as tools to propel the three-fold paradigmatic framework that w i l l later be discussed i n further detail. The schools, educational institutions and park explored here are environments that foster a dynamic interchange between children and their milieu. They reflect the design principles, programs, ideas and values o f the ecological, curriculum-based and narrative landscapes that are explored in Section V .  1) ECOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES Anne Spirn refers to the city as a "granite garden," where some parts are cultivated intensively, while other areas remain desolate and abandoned. Nature i n the city constitutes more than boulevard street trees and green, grassy parks, it is the rain that falls from the sky, the air we breathe, the wind that whips across the sky. The urban ecosystem becomes a part o f nature when human activity and the natural processes o f the earth interact. Nature is one o f the fundamental forces that affects how the city is built and sustained for the well-being o f those who live i n it (Spirn 1984).  20  •  Roy Lee Walker Elementary: McKinney, Texas  P1  Roy Lee Walker Elementary School  Developed as a prototype sustainable school, Roy Lee Walker Elementary incorporates principles of environmental conservation into the design of its site, teaching children about natural processes through direct interaction and observation of wildlife, solar and wind energy, hydrological cycles, and vegetation. The design of the sustainable school is woven into the curriculum, allowing students to comprehend its design and its impact on the environment. The building features a weather centre, classroom daylighting, rainwater harvesting, geothermal technology, with emphasis on water habitat, native plantings and the principles of recycling. Studies have found that introducing such elements into the school system not only impacts students' academic studies but is also beneficial for the physical and emotional health of children.  •  Washington Elementary School: Berkeley, California  Revitalization of this site came with the central purpose of changing attitudes towards children's institutional landscapes through physical reorganization of the school ground. There was a desire to foster a deeper understanding of the relationship between children and the environment surrounding them. Designer Robin Moore established 2 levels of adaptation for this project: the first addressed children's behavioral response to daily transformations in the environment. The second focused on long-term modifications affecting children emotionally and physically, and  21  how these changes "initiated a shift in cultural values toward an integrated environment and childhood ethic" (Moore 1974).  The effects of urban wildlife on children as stimuli for generating development skills were seen as a viable alternative to the low development value of asphalt playgrounds. Observation concluded that individual expression was important in children's landscapes, which could be attained through environments that are ambiguous and open-ended that allow for physical manipulation. Environments set in natural frameworks support a range of imaginative activity due to their diversity and ease of manipulation. The outdoor school ground became an extended classroom with a focus on environmental educational programs. The environmentally-based curriculum "integrated play and learning, science and art, inside and outside, cognition and feeling, mind and body, heart and head, home and school, school and community, school yard and surrounding region, childhood and education" (Moore 1974). Greater exposure to nature and positive interaction with the physical setting gives children a more holistic view of their environment, enabling them to build values through direct experiences with life forms.  2) CURRICULUM-BASED LANDSCAPES The following case studies reflect places that integrate curricular activities and the educational program into the design of their setting. Interaction with physical elements compliments indoor classroom learning, enhancing developmental processes with hands-on experience. Emphasis is placed on experiential elements where children can explore and discover by themselves. Identity and ownership of the environment were integral components in the design of these landscapes. •  Gateway School: St. Louis, Missouri  22  A playground for the mind, Gateway School's entire facility is entirely interactive, hands-on and query-based. The mission of the school is to "prepare children for a lifetime of learning through an interactive focus on science, math, and the technologies of the future" (Hammatt 2001). Serving as an outdoor classroom, the yard provides a constantly changing, interactive learning environment for independent and group study. The physical elements of the school give students an understanding of the outdoor environment and the role science and technology play to enhance and defend those natural resources. Programmatic elements include a math and physics playground designed to reflect geometric forms, intending to provide tangible visual aids for instruction. Workshops for hydraulic experiments are provided, demonstrating the effects of erosion and the hydrological cycle. Natural elements such as the forest, prairie, wetland, stream and pond were constructed to create a mini-ecosystem, which would demonstrate some principles of biology, ecology and botany. Issues of privacy and public gathering spaces were also addressed to give students the option of various types of play.  •  P3  Santa Fe Children's Museum: Santa Fe, New Mexico  Santa Fe Children's Museum  Children and the community were involved in the design process to transform this former warehouse into a children's museum. Young people are invited to discover and explore in this museum that strives to connect inside rooms and building forms with outside space and nature. The museum environment, both indoor and outdoor, is seen as something organic where people  respond to the overall design of the building as well as the landscape. The architecture structure was part of the educational element, demonstrating how exposed heating and water systems worked. One of the goals of the project was to ensure that the building and the outdoor physical setting functioned as a whole. Runoff from the roof and ground was collected and channeled through wetlands zones, filtered and carried to a holding tank by solar power and hand pumps. Exploration trails lead children to explore the various ecosystems of the Santa Fe area including wetlands, desert zones and a greenhouse for native plants. Time, flexibility and freedom to choose were driving factors behind the design and planning of this outdoor educational space.  3) NARRATIVE LANDSCAPES Narrative landscapes refer to environments that enhance the developmental and educational processes in children through the physical, historical, sensory and temporal elements of the setting. The environment's characteristics influence what the senses perceive, which help create a deeper understanding of place-identity and self-identity. A strong sense self in time and place, as well as a connection to the history of place and community emanates from these settings.  •  P 4  Reggio Emilia: Italy  Reggio Emilia, The Diana School  Each of these schools interconnect the vision of educators, the physicality of the built environment and children's activities to create a school setting conducive to learning. This approach to teaching draws on the progressive educational philosophies of Froebel,  24  Montessori and Dewey, viewing education as a communal activity. The school is considered part of the urban fabric, where the environment and the school culture, constructed by the children themselves, becomes a part of the individual. Reggio E m i l i a schools can be described as unique, places where the vision, history and many layers of culture of the area are reflected. The physical environment carries messages about the students, the visions of the teachers and the daily process of learning. Emphasis is put on flexibility, enabling children to shape and form the landscape according to the concept of each school.  •  P 5  Village of Yorkville Park: Toronto, Ontario  Plan of Yorkville Park  The park's design reflects the history of the Village of Yorkville and the diversity of the Canadian landscape, demonstrating urban ecology, local history and regional identity. Striving to "reflect, reinforce, and extend the scale and character" of the original Yorkville village, it provides a variety of spatial and sensory experiences through native plant species and other landscape qualities at the same time. The framework of the park took the form of a series of gardens that vary in shape, adopting the frames of the ancient row-housing lot lines that existed in the late 1950s. A n array of distinct plant communities plays an important part in distinguishing each garden. Upland conifers, deciduous species, wetland plants are separated by a rock outcropping in the centre of the site, all identifying landscapes that are found across the nation.  25  SECTION IV  THE SITE: HISTORY AND CONTEXT  REGIONAL COMMUNITY CONTEXT Colling wood: Regional History  M 1  Regional plan of Vancouver districts: Renfrew-Collingwood  M2  Renfrew-Collingwood boundary plan  The district of Collingwood, amalgamated with the adjoining neighbourhood of Renfrew, is bounded by Nanaimo Street to the east, Boundary Road to the west, 2 2  nd  to the north and 45  th  Ave to the south. The family-oriented residential suburb on the slopes of east Vancouver has a rich history as a semi-agricultural community when many small orchards, ranches and farms populated the area. The earliest known settlers of the region may have been the Royal Engineers who came from Collingwood, Ontario to survey Westminster Road (now Kingsway). They arrived in this area, then blanketed by forest inhabited with various fowl, beavers, black bears, cougars, wolves and deer, in 1861. Thirty years later, the neighbourhood was named Collingwood following construction of the first Inter-Urban tramway system in North America, which ran between Vancouver and New Westminster. The present-day Skytrain route runs along this historic commuter corridor. Isolation from other neighbourhoods along the rail line and the small size of the district lead residents to develop a strong loyalty to the community and  26  the local school. Collingwood gradually transformed from a semi-agricultural district to residential and light industrial areas.  Community Planning & Development  M 3  Community Land-Use Pattern  M4  Aerial photo of Sir Guy Carleton & area  The Collingwood neighbourhood is a community that thrives on cultural, population and housing diversity. Approximately 80% of the district's land area has been zoned for residential use, holding the second highest proportion of single family dwellings in Vancouver. T w o important areas of industrial land lies within Renfrew-Collingwood's boundaries, created by the City as planned industrial districts for activities such as manufacturing and distribution. Commercial and medium density development can be found in smaller sections throughout the community. A m o n g the residential and commercial districts of this neighbourhood, RenfrewCollingwood maintains twelve parks on thirty hectares of park land distributed across the community.  CLIMATOLOGY OF VANCOUVER Precipitation in Vancouver The water balance in Vancouver greatly depends on seasonality. Heavy winter rains cause soil saturation, thus creating heavy runoff contributing to streamflow. Summer presents drier  27  conditions with less precipitation and greater evaporation brought on by stronger solar radiation. The annual precipitation for the Collingwood area is 1600mm per year. The high median range in the Lower Mainland is 2000mm versus the low at 1200mm (Oke 1992).  Wind Speed and Direction Wind data indicates that the dominant surface winds prevail from the east in the Lower Mainland region throughout most of the year. In the warmer months, there is an increase in winds from the west or northwest. The period from October to May present the strongest winds with seasonal variations.  SIR GUY CARLETON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL History of the School  M 5  Vancouver School Board Reference map  M 6 Sir Guy Carleton catchment area  Sir Guy Carleton Elementary School has been the heart of Collingwood since its construction in 1896 under the name of East Vancouver School. The one-room schoolhouse is still used today as the kindergarten classroom, making it the oldest school building in the Vancouver School Board district. There are four structures on the site, all of which have been designated various levels of heritage value including the Frame Building (1908), a two-storey Edwardian style edifice and the Brick Building (1910). This multi-cultural school has been given inner-city  28  school status, which provides "extra support and services to children who face obstacles to success at school for economic, social or other reasons" ( V S B 2001). The goals of the innercity program are to enhance the social development and self-esteem of students, to encourage parent and community involvement and to promote language development.  M 7  Existing plan of Sir Guy Carleton  P6  Photos of school structures  Schoolyard Zones There are primarily three existing zones on the school site, which are used for different play activities. The front yard is an unorganized free play area on grass. Surrounding the two main building structures is an asphalt free play area, including basketball courts. The backyard consists of a boulder dust soccer field and active play area. Prefabricated play equipment is located on the upper play site.  M 8  Plan of Schoolyard Zones  29  Hydrology & Drainage The school site is located at the highest point in the Collingwood district sloping northward. There is a two metre drop in grade between the southern upper portion of the site and the soccer fields, currently separated by a concrete retaining wall. This is due to the fact that this section of the site was previously a residential area, donated to Carleton School in the 1970s. Runoff therefore flows towards the northern end of the site to the grass fields. M 9  Plan of hydrology & drainage  Views, Circulation & Noise Good views are offered to the North Shore mountains from the school site. However, because the site is located on a major thoroughfare at the Kingsway/Joyce intersection, noise from traffic is heavy during school hours. The main circulatory routes, entrances and exits are located at the back of the site as a safety precaution against oncoming traffic. Staff or students do not use the main entrance on Kingsway. M 10  Plan of circulation, views & noise  riHmi ATIOK O VIEWS B NOISE  SECTION V  THE DESIGN: CONCEPT & PROGRAM  "An environment is a living, changing system. More than the physical space, it includes the way time is structured and the roles we are expected to play. It conditions how we feel, think, and behave; and it dramatically affects the quality of our lives." Jim Greenman, 1988  The question remains whether the programming and design of educational facilities plays a part in the learning process, or i f the school setting is simply a vessel in which the curriculum is taught (Bingler 1995). There is increasing evidence indicating that the physical settings of schools do affect attitudes, behavior and academic achievement in students (Moore & Lackney 1995). The architectural and landscape architectural settings designed to provide places in which the curriculum may be taught should also be used as a tool in the educational process. A n understanding of the poetries of place can lead to landscapes that respond to the surrounding environment as well as to the people who inhabit it. Positivist attitudes lead to built landscapes that are experientially weak, lacking a clear grasp on spatial visions and the character of place (Corner 1991). Although unique in their programmatic elements, the three layers that constitute the framework share similar educational and design principles as well as design criteria. The following is a listing of criteria used to inform the design of the ecological, curriculum-based and narrative landscapes.  31  Site Design Criteria  •  Diversity and Clarity: The environment should stimulate the minds of children, encouraging exploration through complex yet clear play environments. A distinct overall image should be presented to the user, indicating access routes leading to principal gathering areas. Locating and juxtaposing settings in a way that will generate the widest variety o f play activity patterns, and produce the greatest possible range of interactions and relationships is significant as well (Moore, Goltsman & Iacofano 1992).  •  Manipulable Settings: Provide the opportunity for children to construct their own space and enhance the process of discovery that will keep up with their development. This w i l l enable them to make their own decisions and provide a more holistic connection with the larger whole.  •  Permanence and Change: Giving children the stability of an environment resistant to change provides stability and familiarity, leading to a connection with the physical setting (installations at entrances, trees, structures). It is also necessary to provide the option of dealing with transformation to demonstrate the cyclical and temporal changes that take place in the environment.  •  Multi-Sensory Stimulation: Design that engages the visual, auditory, tactile, thermal, and olfactory senses provides a sense of identity with the environment. Exposure to various materials, climate, time, space, movement are also of importance to development.  •  Year-Round Usage: Places that shield users from the elements such as wind, rain, sun, shade and noise will provide a comfortable atmosphere conducive to learning. Creating agreeable microclimates in which children may go about their activities in a secure manner will lengthen usage of facilities.  •  Variety of social spaces: Different places ranging in size, public, semi-public and private domains are integral to support various-sized groups engaging in different social activities. These would include large areas for group play, semi-enclosed spaces, places for quiet exploration, and age-specific gathering spaces.  32  Site Design Criteria  •  Landmarks: Landmarks are advantageous in helping children to orient themselves in space, providing memories of place and developing psychological independence (Moore, Goltsman & Iacofano 1992). Place identity is established through recognition of familiar elements in the landscape, creating a relationship between the child to the whole.  •  Undefined spaces for discovery: Dramatic play is fostered in unprogrammed environments, stimulating creative and fantasy activities. Undefined elements such as rocks and sand can represent anything the child imagines.  •  Variety of spatial experiences: Prepositionally rich environments help children understand spatial concepts such as over/under, in/out, up/down, right/left, depth/directionality (Moore, Goltsman & Iacofano 1992). Learning the capabilities of the body takes place in topographically diverse settings filled with various opportunities to jump, fall, etc.  •  Interaction with wildlife: Design that fosters and intensifies the experience of natural habitats increases the awareness of the vital importance of ecological systems. A n understanding of the interrelations and interconnections of the abiotic and biotic parts of the environment will be developed with first-hand experiences with wildlife.  The essence of the paradigmatic framework lies in the integration of independent layers of design, each layer conveying a distinct expression of site identity that seeks to instill a sense o f place in the school ground. Its objective is to explore how the schoolyard can be designed as an integral context for learning so as to facilitate the attainment of skills in an environment that will stimulate cognitive, physical and emotional development. B y filling the mind with empowering images, revealing natural processes and exploring the contextuality of the site, meaning is constructed into the physical setting. These are landscapes that should express mystery and delight, transforming with each passing season and changing with various cultural and personal interpretations.  33  ECOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE PRINCIPLES 1)  Provide places that allow for direct interaction with the natural environment, using constructed natural systems as stimulator and the foundation for educational material.  2)  Design areas that provide opportunities for manipulation, exploration and experimentation of the natural environment.  3)  Reveal the significance of energy management through the hydrological cycle and the reuse and recycling of waste materials, instilling a sense of connection between children and their environment.  4)  Unravel the mysteries of food production by revealing the principles of urban agriculture, as well as the processes of planting and harvesting.  5)  Create a rich and diverse habitat that reads as a child's environment, a world that responds to a child's own sense of place and time.  Design Elements The Ecological Landscape reveals the hydrological cycle through sustainable stormwater management. Runoff is collected in a central north-south running swale across the entire site and deposited into a detention pond in the front yard, where it is infiltrated into the ground (see Section A - A ' ) - The essentials of urban agriculture, food production and composting are also highlighted through garden plots in the central yard (see Figure 1) as well as a fruit orchard, greenhouse and Woodland Forest. A sunken Teaching Triangle, set next to the plots, provides an informal sitting area where classes may gather when working in the garden. A central courtyard provides the yards main gathering area, complete with benches and "stream" laden with recycled glass (see Figure 2).  Children interpret the landscape in their own special way, fashioning play areas from sites that have little formal connection to the traditional idea of a child's landscape. These spaces allow for the full experience of discovery, inviting them to leave their footprints on the rough ground and interpret the site with their own imaginations. Young minds find the need to learn for themselves and are motivated to interact with places that stimulate creativity and evoke a sense of historical interpretation. The Upper Yard is an undefined play area bounded by two mounds where children may create their own space (see Section B - B ' ) .  34  ECOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE  D 1  Ecological Landscape Design Plan  35  Figure 1 Garden plots and Teaching Triangle  Section A - A '  Swale through Front Yard and Central Courtyard looking east  Figure 2 Recycled glass stream in courtyard  D 2  Ecological Landscape Sections and Elevations  36  CURRICULUM-BASED LANDSCAPE PRINCIPLES 1)  B l u r the boundaries that separate the indoor classroom and the outdoor learning environment, creating a learning landscape that seeks to nurture the mind.  2)  Explore how curriculum integration through interactive learning can occur at all levels.  3)  Create places that support experiential learning, integrating living metaphors and visual aids for teaching into the landscape.  4)  Support the notion of play as a source of learning, giving children the flexibility to shape their own environment through free-play and discovery.  5)  Design an outdoor school ground that can be used throughout all the seasons.  Design Elements This design tries to incorporate the outdoor physical setting into the academic curriculum, promoting interactive learning in subjects from science to art. The dramatic arts play a significant in the curriculum and in extra curricular activities of this school. A n informal outdoor stage w i l l enable children to explore their creative side and develop their imaginations (see Figure 3). The main structure of the landscape is shaped around pathways, the central one taking the form of the Golden Curve. Pathways are experiences in themselves. " A meandering path between activities will allow the children to look over each potential activity and a bypass route would allow quick movement from one side of the room to another without disrupting those already engaged in activities (Osmon, 1971). On the outer boundaries of this pathway is a forested area where the study of wildlife and native plant species may occur. A n outdoor classroom is nestled in the wooded area, providing shelter and seating for students (see Section A - A ' ) . Inside the pathway, forms of the constellations may be studied in a playful way with leapfrogs. The Upper Y a r d focuses on active play on various structures (see Figure 4) as well as interactive learning about solar direction using a sundial. Understanding the cycles of food production is achieved through south-facing garden plots (see Section B - B ' ) .  37  CURRICULUM-BASED  LANDSCAPE  Figure 3 Outdoor stage and Gathering Place  Section A - A ' Outdoor classroom, art area and constellation leap frogs against woodland  Section B - B ' Upper Yard: Mound, sundial & garden plots  Figure 4 Climbing rock structure D 4  Curriculum-based Landscape Sections and Elevations  39  NARRATIVE LANDSCAPE PRINCIPLES 1)  CONTEXT • Reveal site conditions and regional memory to provide a sense of historical grounding to the schoolyard and the community. • Provide a landscape that becomes a backdrop to play, supplying content, context and meaning.  2)  PHENOMENOLOGY • Express the value of the phenomenological environment - one that refers to the meanings children develop for the events they experience.  3)  CULTURE • Explore place-enhancing processes in order to establish a sense of belonging, identity and ownership, revealing the culture of the place • Assist children in discovering self-identity through place-identity.  4)  MULTI-SENSORY SPACE • Reveal the body in time and engage the senses through the cycles of nature, passage of seasons and ephemeral processes.  5)  VISION • Provide an environment that may be arranged according to the personal preference, the goals and values of those who use the space.  It is said that "rootedness" plays a significant role when nourishing the human soul. Rediscovering local culture and restoring ties to the local history of place is one way of doing this. The narrative landscape reveals site and regional conditions through specific installations placed around the schoolyard. Reminiscent of the mountains that surround Vancouver, which are visible from the school site, mounds representative of this landscape separate the two soccer fields in the front yard (see Section A - A ' ) - Temporality is expressed in the four seasonal rooms that each focus on the highlights and changes of the different seasons (see Figure 5). Native plantings may be studied in the Westcoast forest, which surrounds a circular wildflower meadow. A n outdoor amphitheater for formal school gatherings (see Figure 6) looks out across a pond where various aquatic life may be observed (see Section B - B ' ) . Upon entering the Upper Yard, giant furrow mounds greet the user, a strong reminder of the area's semiagricultural heritage. Children can run up and down these grassy mounds into the free play area construction and building of objects is encouraged (see Section C - C ) .  40  NARRATIVE LANDSCAPE  Section Key  Figure 5 Seasonal Room  Section A - A ' Range of mounds dividing soccer fields  Section B - B ' Stage, Lookout and Pond  Section C - C Amphitheater seating to furrow mounds and free play area  Figure 6 Outdoor amphitheatre D 6  Narrative Landscape Sections and Elevations  MASTER PLAN  D 7  Sir Guy Carleton: Master Plan  43  MASTER PLAN DESIGN  FRONT YARD The Front Y a r d is composed of an experiential learning centre and active play areas. Discovery Pond allows for direct interaction with aquatic wildlife (see Section A - A ' ) , enabling children to cross the pond on a wooden boardwalk (see Figure 7). Gathering places of various sizes are strewn around the pond, providing for secluded activities or more public classroom gatherings (see Section B-B'). Research shows that privacy contributes to children's development and maturation. The secret spaces that children create allow them to observe and watch the world go by, while remaining hidden and undetected. A t the same time, the experience of unearthing a unique space transmutes into a sense of personal uniqueness. These hiding places that children uncover protect them from the glare of the outer world, and they become environments that nurture the unfolding self (Sobel 1993). Such secretive spaces support the prospect-refuge theory, which assumes that "because the ability to see without being seen is an intermediate step in the satisfaction of many [environmental] needs, the capacity of the environment to ensure the achievement of this becomes a more immediate source of aesthetic satisfaction" (Appleton 1975). O n the opposite end o f the site, soccer and baseball fields are combined for active organized sports play. A bell and watchtower for watching games stands where Collingwood's first firehall once presided on the site (see Section C-C').  CENTRAL YARD The Central Y a r d focuses on natural processes, demonstrating how these cycles interact and rely on one another. The central gathering area is composed of a concrete seating area that face oversized measuring blocks (see Figure 8). These blocks of varying heights teach children measurement, and can also be used as chalkboards by instructors. O n the opposite side of the central pathway are troughs that will provide water for the garden plots from ground water runoff. A hand pump brings water from the underground cistern up through to the water troughs where it may then be collected and used (see Section D-D'). This teaches children about the value of energy conservation through water reuse. The eastern portion of the site features a Native Forest where children may explore, as in the Ecological Landscape design, wildlife and native plantings (see Section E-E'). Figure 9 demonstrates the configuration of the community  44  garden plots, located across from the greenhouse classroom. A swale that collects water to be diverted into the underground cistern divides the plots, greenhouse and orchard areas (see Section F-F'). The mini-orchard separates the food production area from an outdoor and enclosed art space as well as a Sensory Garden. The art space consists of an enclosed outdoor classroom that is used for art classes (see Section G-G'). Each year, classes w i l l contribute to the mosaic tiling that decorates the ground of this space. KINDERGARTEN P L A Y A R E A & UPPER T E R R A C E The younger children's play area is reserved for more tactile and sensory experiences that concentrate on developing their physical and cognitive skills. Accessible sand boxes for creative play, large rocks for climbing on, bars to swing on and a jungle gym made from sturdy tree branches (see Section H - H ' & Section I-F). The journey up the amphitheater stairs leads to a pathway that ends with a majestic " K i n g o f the Castle" mound (see Section J-J')- The Upper Terrace remains an active play area divided into 3 sections: a play equipment-oriented area, a below-grade pit area (see Section K - K ' ) and an Adventure playground (see Section L - L ' ) , all surrounded by a continuation of the woodland area from the Central Yard. C i t y planners Lukashok and L y n c h believe that in order to fulfill a child's needs, the environment must provide variety with some chance of adventuresome activity. There exists a strong urge within children to act upon their physical environment, to be stimulated by it and to realize imaginative fantasies through it (Hart 1979). These views are congruent to the theory of adaptation, which can be defined as giving a landscape order and meaning by physically modifying it. The concept of the Christian Sorenson's Adventure Playground accommodates this theory by acknowledging children's needs to physically alter, interact with and manipulate the environment. A type of formalized derelict play site, Adventure Playgrounds allow for rich opportunities of constructive play in high-density urban neighbourhoods which are focused on the community. The deconstruction, reconstruction and reinvention of this play landscape becomes a tool for the child in trying to better comprehend the world. A t the same time, adventure playgrounds engage cognitive developments, develop social adeptness and focus on powers of perception (Michelson 1979).  45  Figure 7 Pond Boardwalk  Section Key  Section A - A ' Discovery Pond  Section B - B ' Gathering place overlooking pond  Section C - C Firehall tower and bleachers Collingwood Firehall  D 8  Master Plan Sections & Elevations: Front Yard  46  Section D-D' Water pump and troughs  Figure 8 Central gathering area with water troughs  Section E - E ' Woodland Forest Figure 9 Axonometric of garden Central Yard  Section F - F ' View of orchard, greenhouse and central gathering area  Section G - G ' Sheltered art space and enclosed classroom  D 8  Master Plan Sections & Elevations: Central Yard  47  Section H - H ' Kindergarten play area with sandboxes and rocks  Section I-F Kindergarten play area with climbing structure  i Section J - J ' Pathway leading from Amphitheatre to mound  Section K - K ' Underground Pit area  Section L - L ' View of forest, mounds and play area  D 8  Master Plan Sections & Elevations: Kindergarten Area & Upper Terrace  BIBLIOGRAPHY Adams, Eileen and Sue Ingham. 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