School ground greening : developing a model for comprehensive design with multiple benefits
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Citation:Wang, Q. (2017). School ground greening : Developing a model for comprehensive design with multiple benefits. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Landscape Architecture degree at Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4381
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can the value of SGG projects be increased for all stakeholders and their communities through a co-design process? It is proposed that school ground greening has the potential to enhance children’s relationships with nature. This project takes an educational approach through involving landscape architects’ commitment to education and enhancing the health of local social and natural environments. Rationales for the resurgence in interest (over the last decade or so) in school gardens focus on perceptions adults have about modern childhood and schooling; for example, that children lack physical activity, are facing an obesity epidemic, and battling inflexible educational systems – raising concerns about children’s diminishing contact with nature and natural systems. Research on school ground greening projects (which is an overarching term including school gardens) has established that there are many benefits, due to increasing children’s connections with nature on a number of levels, such as developing earth guardianship responsibilities, learning where food comes from, learning about science and ecology, encouraging physical exercise and imaginative play. This project will investigate the claim that many school gardens have limitations in terms of their scope and children’s participation, especially in their planning and design. Instead they are frequently designed and constructed in an ad hoc manner by teachers and volunteers, missing the opportunity to both engage children in a process of learning about design (co-design) and to create ecologically richer school grounds that are ecologically-focused, creative, encouraging of indoor-outdoor connections, considerate of maintenance, and provide ecosystem services within communities. Research was conducted with 28 students from a west Auckland School who worked with this author to develop a greening plan for part of their school grounds. This process and results are presented here and indicate that students gained environmental and design knowledge, especially due to their sense of ownership, which the project espoused.