Vertical Schools and Mediated Spaces: The Necessity of Interaction with Natural Environment

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Abstract

The idea of integrating schools with nature and community is not a new-found phenomenon. From the end of the 16th century and throughout the 17th century, significant childhood discovery development emerged. However, by the late 18th century, the concept of the child was firmly established as an ‘institution’. This institution was seen as a ‘walled garden’ in which small and weak children are shielded from the harshness of the globe outside [1]. In the early 19th century, the educational garden concept commenced with the kindergartens established by Friedrich Froebel [2], and emphasized the importance of integrating children’s spaces with the natural environment.
Nevertheless, nowadays, children spend less time in natural settings than was normal in the past, due to space competitiveness, which is creating more high-rise buildings, including schools [2], [3]. The growing population, urban sprawl, densification strategies, and digital integration are indicators of time spent in and out of natural environments and have an undeniable impact on children’s health and well-being [3], [4]. Given the excellent association between time spent in nature and better community well-being, people spend more than 80% in buildings, deprived of nature’s opportunities [3]. As a result, one of the necessary elements for encouraging progressive thinking in educating children is to create a functioning and supportive physical learning infrastructure in vertical buildings [4], which, in this paper, is called ‘mediated spaces’.
This paper aims to propose criteria for designing mediated spaces to integrate indoor and outdoor environments in vertical schools. Moreover, by pursuing literature review on the impact of the natural environment on pedagogy, and reviewing related case studies in schools that integrate with nature argues the importance of interacting vertical schools with the natural environment to improve learning outcomes, health and well-being of children.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAMPS
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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