Outdoor Learning A Sustainability Initiative in Higher Education

Outdoor Learning: A Sustainability Initiative in Higher Education

Outdoor Learning A Sustainability Initiative in Higher Education

Outdoor Learning: A Sustainability Initiative in Higher Education

Empowering Universities to Turn Unused Campus Space into Places of Experiential Learning

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities experimented with outdoor teaching spaces to meet social distancing guidelines.

The University of North Carolina, Charlotte (UNCC) embarked on a more permanent plan to transform underused campus quads into performative landscapes that will increase arts engagement and visibility beyond department walls.

McMillan Pazdan Smith architect, Jana Hartenstine, who led the planning and design efforts for this UNCC initiative, wrote an article published in American School & University magazine that highlights the cultural, environmental, and financial benefits of the campus project.

The article explains how the outdoor teaching spaces support sustainability by using features such as solar panels, water-saving fixtures, drought-tolerant plants, light-colored paving and roofing, bioretention edges, living walls, and fountains.

Experiential learning spaces also enhance pedagogy by providing oxygen, stimulation, inspiration, and cross-disciplinary collaboration for the arts and humanities students and faculty.

By comparing the cost of landscape architecture ($35 per square foot) to the cost of building construction ($450 per square foot) universities in mild climates might want to consider these types of green alternatives to campus expansion.

Read the full article here.

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Want to explore sustainable ways to reimagine unused campus spaces? Contact our Higher Education Practice Leader, Jana Gottlieb Hartenstine.

Jana Hartenstein

Jana Hartenstine

AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CDT

Principal, Higher Ed Practice Leader

Contact Jana