School, community, home : usuing architecture and urban design in creating an integrated learning environment
Author(s)Farrell, Stephanie C. (Stephanie Cahill)
Using architecture and urban design in creating an integrated learning environment
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This thesis tests the assertion that the design of the physical environment plays a role in the effective integration of school and community. The design of most existing urban schools fails to recognize the integral role communities play in their children's education. Most schools are insular, turning their back physically and programmatically on the adjacent neighborhood. The identities of the community and its children are seemingly negated. Almost unintentionally, the design of such institutions mirrors the dislocation of the urban poor from mainstream society. To be effective, the formal (school) and informal (family and community life) components of a child's education must act symbiotically. Continuity among the educational systems of many inner-city children, however is often foiled by the socioeconomic and cultural differences between parents and teachers, administrators and community members. The disparities between school and community are further complicated in the condition of extreme urban poverty. Schools, often run by middle class outsiders, stand as physical manifestations of a system ill-equipped to recognize and facilitate the unique needs of urban communities and their children. The complete educational system, therefore, falls victim to stereotypes and a lack of understanding between educators and the community. At present, educational reform efforts are directed toward establishing meaningful communication between these diverse, and often adversarial, components of a child's education. Programmatic initiatives alone, however, will not be enough. While successful as social programs, these strategies fail to address the influence of the physical environment. This thesis explores the role urban design and architecture can play in redefining the interaction among schools, families and communities th rough the redesign of the destitute West Baltimore community of Poppleton. The (public) school becomes the new neighborhood center. This learning center should not only meet the traditional educational needs of children, but also serve as a vehicle for the physical and programmatic reintegration of family and community members into the pedagogical process.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1997.Includes bibliographical references (p. 70-71).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology