I am researching conventional designs for high school exteriors as part of my homework assignment in my sustainable design class. For my project, I have chosen to redesign (on paper only-for now) my old high school exterior space, not only in a more sustainable manner, but with the goal of creating "a sense of place". One of many fond memories I have of my "school daze" is sitting of outside on the metal railings, soaking up the fresh air under the shady trees. It would be great to expand the physical features of the space to create a welcoming, natural, comfortable environment for the students. There is soooo much potential! Currently, like many urban high schools, the exterior entryway is surrounding by a sparse, grassy area and a few trees, another side of the building is fully committed to parking (the tennis court was paved over) and the other two sides feature gravel "landscaping" surrounded by steel posts or fences that serve to protect the school from traffic, I guess. I chose this project for many reasons - the opportunity to work with landscapes, experiment with urban farming, engage teens and the opportunity to integrate the school into the success and activities of the community. Built in 1926, it sits on a corner of the neighborhood known as five points, where traffic flows from five different directions, so it has the potential to be a showcase green project for the entire community. In this week's class we will discuss community planning and sustainable urbanism. Next week - site and land use, permaculture and water managment. Perfect for my project. I will keep you posted on my progress, lessons learned and projects of my classmates (don't worry, were only three deep).