Designing for the community
Landscape Architecture students at the University of Maryland have the incredible opportunity of helping impact local communities with their design ideas. Take for example first-year MLA students in Dr. Byoung-Suk Kweon's LARC 640 studio. This past fall they worked on design projects with two local communities- Druid Heights in Baltimore and in Washington DC.
What did they design?
Project 1: School within School
As their first project in the graduate Landscape Architecture program, students were assigned to design an outdoor learning space for the School Within School in NE, Washington DC. According to the school's website they are "a public, teacher-directed school" with a mission "to support and develop children's potential through uniquely child-centered, collaborative learning environment inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education." The students were assigned to create activity areas on the school campus that would include/address:
- Passive and active play areas
- Pedestrian circulation to Sherwood Playground, parking lots, and classrooms
- Vehicular access to the service entrance and classrooms
- Maintain current number of the spaces
- Others: Water feature, sculpture, signage, etc.
- Meet all Maryland standard regulations for playgrounds
Jennifer Ren's design ideas.
Laura Robinson and Jason Poole, 1st year MLAs, in front of their design ideas.
Project 2: Reinvest Maryland: Druid Heights - Baltimore
For the second project the students were able to help design for a local community, while also participating in a contest: the Maryland Sustainable Growth Challenge student competition.
The Maryland Sustainable Growth Challenge aims to give students the opportunity to address planning, sustainability and reinvestment issues in the state of Maryland. According to the contest's website, "this year's theme is Reinvest Maryland; students will be asked to develop creative triple-bottom line approaches to reinvesting in Maryland Communities."
Dr. Byoung-Suk Kweon made arrangements for the students to work in Druid Heights, Baltimore. This community in Baltimore has a vacant lot in the neighborhood with various challenges such as overgrown vegetation, brownfield potential, crime, a depressed local economy and varying levels of support from local residents. This gave the students the opportunity to address and design for the real issues the neighborhood is experiencing.
The students exploring Druid Heights and meeting with local residents to discuss their design ideas.
Congratulations to Dr. Byoung-Suk Kweon, Jason Poole, Jennifer Ren, and Laura Robinson on being invited to present their project "Gold Street Park, Druid Heights" to the panel of judges for the Maryland Sustainable Growth Challenge this February!
We hope our students win but at least the students were given the opportunity to help a local community with design ideas!