Bringing schools to life through a co-design learning approach with children.

Thumbnail Image
Other Title
Wake, Sue
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
school grounds
sustainability education
greening schools
school ground greening
primary schools
landscape architecture
Wake, S. J. (2015, December). Bringing schools to life through a co-design learning approach with children. In R. H. Crawford and A. Stephan (Ed.), Proceedings of the 49th International Conference of the Architectural Science Association: Living and Learning: Research for a Better Built Environment (pp.859-868).
This paper proposes that incorporating professional expertise (e.g. landscape architects and architects) in school ground greening projects, with a commitment towards engaging in a democratic participatory process with children (known as co-design), could lead to equitable and enriching outcomes for all stakeholders. These have been documented as: learning opportunities for participating children plus their greater ownership in the process and the result, fulfilment of environmental sustainability education and stewardship responsibilities within the community for landscape architects and architects, reciprocal benefits for these professionals through achieving better outcomes due to the creative input and knowledge of place that children bring to the process, and the establishment of community-integrated green spaces and wildlife corridors within the urban fabric. The paper draws on participatory learning theory, New Zealand case study projects and international literature sources to suggest a paradigm shift to architects and landscape architects towards engaging more with schools on school ground greening and building projects as a community service. This could see them contributing to creating pedagogically and ecologically richer school grounds that are creatively designed to encourage indoor-outdoor connections, sensibly planned for maintenance and sensitively planned to increase biodiversity and provide ecosystem services within communities.
Architectural Science Association (ASA)
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Copyright notice
©2015, The Architectural Science Association and The University of Melbourne
Copyright license
Available online at