The Community

In addition to the students, teachers, and parents that will be using the new school yard, it is important to consider the surrounding community. Outside of school hours and on the weekends, the school yard can become an important resource for community members – a place to play, contribute to a community garden, or even a shortcut through the block.

Putting Things in Context

Equally important to understanding the site itself is becoming familiar with its context. For example, if your school is adjacent to a large public park, it may not be necessary to include as much green space on the school grounds. Does your school rent out field space outside of school hours? You can find more information on field sizes and needs here. Below you will find some key questions, along with diagrams depicting different community conditions. You can use this printable worksheet to document your school’s community conditions through drawing, writing, and photographs.

What is the typical community usage of the school?

  • Patch – for example, community gardens or daycare facilities on site


  • Thoroughfare – for example, a public path connects two or more edges


  • Occasional – for example, sports teams or other clubs use the site during off-hours


  • Adjacent – for example, a city-owned park is located next to the schoolyard



What adjacencies exist? How can you work these into your design?

  • Individual blocks


  • Park connection


  • Cultural facilities


  • Green network