Design AID: Outdoor Learning Spaces Design Ideas Competition – Aug 23

Posted by Community Design Collaborative on August 18, 2020

How can communities turn underutilized schoolyards into outdoor classrooms that could enable students to safely return to school?

Inspired by Baltimore’s Design for Distancing Competition and building on the success of our Design AID initiative, the Community Design Collaborative is launching the Design AID: Outdoor Learning Spaces Design Ideas Competition.

With funding from the William Penn Foundation and in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, the Community Design Collaborative is seeking innovative and creative solutions for outdoor learning in a time of global crisis – and beyond – to bring students back to school as safely as possible and to expand opportunities for outdoor learning in the future.

School buildings have a limited amount of square footage to address the proper social distancing necessary for all students to return to school, but the typically underused schoolyard can be used to expand learning environments to the outdoors. Throughout history, open-air classrooms have been used to prevent the spread of disease, and outdoor learning has been shown to have physical, emotional, and social benefits for kids.

The Design AID: Outdoor Learning Spaces Design Ideas Competition is an opportunity for designers to submit ideas for outdoor learning spaces that can be easily and inexpensively implemented by schools in Philadelphia and elsewhere.

Anyone can participate! And everyone’s a winner! All feasible design solutions will be compiled in a digital resource to support Philadelphia schools and schools across the U.S. and the globe in their efforts to safely go back to school. The School District of Philadelphia will use the design guide to implement 5-6 pilot learning spaces at Philadelphia schools this Fall.

The competition is open and the deadline for submissions is Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 11:59PM. The Competition Design Brief and more information is available at

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