Creating Landscapes for Better Education

Study Uses Case Studies to Demonstrate Design Concepts, Issues


 WASHINGTON, DC - Significant attention has recently focused on the role landscape architecture plays in the learning environment of elementary and secondary schools. The latest release in the Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series (LATIS) explores ways thoughtful landscape architecture can support the educational development of children in elementary and secondary schools.

The study, Design for Learning: Values, Qualities and Processes of Enriching School Landscapes, was written by ASLA member Julie M. Johnson, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle.

"Learning is most meaningful when it engages our senses fully, when it is grounded in daily life, and when play is part of the process," Johnson said. "The design of school landscapes holds boundless opportunities to foster these experiences, and simultaneously enhance landscapes' values for the ecology of natural and community systems."

The new LATIS is particularly useful in light of recent national attention and funding being directed towards K-12 education. Many educational leaders believe that school landscapes need to be reconceived and designed as interactive places for learning. Design for Learning presents the learning values of school landscapes, as well as design qualities and processes that may enrich these landscapes for children and community. Concepts and issues are used as a lens to view three Seattle case studies that illustrate varied contexts of school landscapes. Conclusions focus on conditions that are needed to make enriched school landscapes an integral part of children's learning and community life.

Design for Learning can be viewed at , along with three other LATIS publications. Each publication includes a self-study exam that can be turned into ASLA for grading. Successful test takers will earn 3.5 professional development hours (.35 continuing education units).

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), which celebrated its centennial in 1999, represents nearly 14,000 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation.


Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371