The urban experience is a journey into diversity; it can educate to be partic-ipating and respectful citizens. By understanding urban spaces as learning landscapes, and their design as an educational device, the chapter describes how city environment can act as a complementary setting to classroom ac-tivities. Starting from the assumption that real-world learning can help tack-le educational poverty, the conceptual frame of educating cities and its long-lasting fortune among urban planners provide the background of a training experience carried out in Trieste with secondary school students, where interactive and reflective learning happened in public spaces. Its out-comes were discussed further with secondary school teachers, offering clues for their use in formal curricula, in order to fight against the early leaving of students with a migrant background. As the American planner Kevin Lynch – whose cognitive theories were taken as a reference – pointed out, the ‘openness of public space’ depends on its being open to actions that are freely chosen by people, and are linked to movement, visual exploration, and social interaction. Diving oneself in city spaces; nurturing the ability to explore and listen to others' urban tales and perceptions; showing how to transform places to make them more welcoming: these are all ways of sharing the urban experiences made by people with different biographies, cultures, bodies and habits, and of understanding the plural meaning they give to ‘public’ space. The chapter investigates how these concepts can lead to a deep rethinking both of educational approaches, and of the physical re-lationships between schools and urban space.

The City as a Learning Context. Lessons of Citizenship through the Design of Public Spaces

Elena Marchigiani
2022-01-01

Abstract

The urban experience is a journey into diversity; it can educate to be partic-ipating and respectful citizens. By understanding urban spaces as learning landscapes, and their design as an educational device, the chapter describes how city environment can act as a complementary setting to classroom ac-tivities. Starting from the assumption that real-world learning can help tack-le educational poverty, the conceptual frame of educating cities and its long-lasting fortune among urban planners provide the background of a training experience carried out in Trieste with secondary school students, where interactive and reflective learning happened in public spaces. Its out-comes were discussed further with secondary school teachers, offering clues for their use in formal curricula, in order to fight against the early leaving of students with a migrant background. As the American planner Kevin Lynch – whose cognitive theories were taken as a reference – pointed out, the ‘openness of public space’ depends on its being open to actions that are freely chosen by people, and are linked to movement, visual exploration, and social interaction. Diving oneself in city spaces; nurturing the ability to explore and listen to others' urban tales and perceptions; showing how to transform places to make them more welcoming: these are all ways of sharing the urban experiences made by people with different biographies, cultures, bodies and habits, and of understanding the plural meaning they give to ‘public’ space. The chapter investigates how these concepts can lead to a deep rethinking both of educational approaches, and of the physical re-lationships between schools and urban space.
978-3-031-10394-0
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3036179
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