BRINGING THE FOREST TO THE SCHOOL: Comparative Spatial Analysis of U.S. & Scandinavian Design Approaches to Nature-Based Learning Environments

Spring 2023 GGR Recipient

James Barnes (Architecture)

I will conduct travel research to Denmark and Sweden to study the design and management of nature-based learning environments in K-12 schools for comparison with U.S. approaches. Outdoor educational models such as Forest Schools, founded in Scandinavia, provide significant benefit to children compared to traditional models of education. With spatial analysis methods and photographic research, along with interviews with stakeholders, I will generate a catalog of outdoor learning space typologies (e.g. outdoor classrooms, recreational spaces, gardens, etc.). These will be both quantitatively and qualitatively derived and be contrasted with typical U.S. schoolyard typologies.