School Boards are partners with the City and schools are essential community facilities that provide a number of benefits and services to the community.
Boards face many challenges in designing outdoor space in Toronto schools. Issues such as parking, garbage, bicycle parking, access, drop-off and the Toronto Green Standard, and how they affect landscaping design and long-term maintenance costs, are key determinants in high quality schoolyard design.
Boards face serious budgetary issues and constraints when undertaking school landscaping. Through this course project, the Boards and the City are looking for opportunities to improve the process and methods used in designing and maintaining landscaping on publicly funded school sites in the City of Toronto.
The notion that schoolyards be designed to maximize the amount of landscaped open space, have landscaped open space maintained properly over time, and make a contribution to the community as a source of municipal pride, is central to this proposal.
Through this multi-disciplinary project, students would:
- Engage with city divisions, school boards, community groups, eco and environmental clubs in schools, and others in order to identify school yards that are both good and bad examples of landscaping, design and maintenance.
- Subject to Board approval, develop innovate ways of engaging the local community in a small selection of chosen schools (4-8 schools), including workshops, where students, parents, staff and local residents could identify issues, challenges, opportunities and constraints for the outdoor space and maintenance at these selected schools.
- Provide a framework for Schoolyard Landscaping, Design and Maintenance that would be appropriate for use in all publicly funded schools in Toronto.
In this urban multidisciplinary design project, the client expects the team to:
- Determine key considerations in designing school yards with respect to programming, and how this is reflected in outdoor space.
- Engage the local community in a small selection of schools. Students, parents, staff and local residents could identify issues, challenges, opportunities and constraints for the outdoor space at these selected schools. The course students would identify support mechanisms to improve maintenance. Further, they would work with the Eco School programs and Environmental clubs, and the community to evaluate, provide design improvements, and develop approaches to maintain these schools' outdoor space.
- In so doing, the student group will provide design concepts, working models and guidelines going forward for "Excellence in Schoolyard Landscape and Design".
Jonathan Mo is a senior at Rotman Commerce, pursuing Finance and Economics. Jonathan has been passionate in the education sector-- a cure and key to may of the global problems by promoting entrepreneurship and innovations. Previously, Jonathan has worked with the West Vancouver School Board on an initiative to design new school bus routes in 2016. In the long term, he wants to advance further in the impact investing field, specializing in the education sector.
In his free time, Jonathan is an amateur cook and enjoys listening to podcasts; he has started his podcast in 2019, the "Let Insiders Talk" podcast at UofT.
Lucas Siemucha is a fourth-year student at John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts for Architectural Studies with a minor in French as a Second Language. Lucas has articulated a participatory and collaborative approach to the project, building on precedent successful schoolyard designs. He also has practical experience working at Nelson Chow Design and Architecture (NCDA) as an architecture and interior design intern and was the winner of the 2019 TedxUofT Design competition. Lucas continues to take part in multidisciplinary research opportunities at the university. He has worked closely with Professor Stephen Verderber over the past two years and has contributed to a variety of publications on the topic of educational design-build and healthcare architecture. These publications include Thinking While Doing (2019) and Innovations in Hospice Architecture 2nd Edition (2020).
Ghalia Alchibani Alnahlawi is a fourth-year student at John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture with a Design Specialist. Ghalia spoke of a design approach that merges the client's practical considerations, students' needs and safety, and the therapeutic and inspirational powers of landscape design. She has interned extensively in Dubai, and she has worked on a number of Toronto-based design projects through Daniels.
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