Nature in the Urban Environment: Sustainable Place-Based Educational Settings: Weaving Together Education, Ecology & Community

David Kamp, New York, NY 

As education programs 
become increasingly 
specialized, schools more 
competitive in attracting 
students, and our awareness 
of nature’s role in community 
health grows, educator and 
planners are faced with the 
question of how can the 
delivery of education be 
more relevant.

 The presentation will focus 
on sustainable place-based 
educational settings, where 
the landscape of education is 
redefined to one that 
motivates students to learn 
and connect with their 
community and the natural 
world.

The presentation 
focuses on how can 
education delivery become 
more student, environmental 
and community responsive 
by presenting examples that 
weave the natural 
environment within the 
academic curriculum, 
reinforcing the school’s 
identity, supporting 
collegiality, and engendering 
community / civic 
involvement.



Today’s schools have 
different ideas about how 
and where learning takes 
place. Traditional classrooms 
designed specifically for 
knowledge delivery no 
longer work. In reality, 
learning also takes place in 
the spaces in-between 
classrooms, the hallways, 
and within the campus 
landscape. Successful 
learners need a variety of 
spaces — collaborative 
space, individual quiet areas 
and active space that 
supports movement and 
making things. Successful 
learning spaces involve 
educators in the planning 
and design process since 
their contributions are based 
on an intimate knowledge of 
the various ways in which 
learning occurs. This 
approach is likely to produce 
much more engaging 
learning environments. 
Learning is enhanced when 
students work with faculty to 
build connections between 
what they study in the 
classroom, apply what they 
learn within the immediate 
environment and what they 
experience directly through 
carefully designed and 
directed programs.

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