Sparrow and Finch Gardening Campus design and gardening: a conversation killer

Campus design and gardening: a conversation killer

Since the 19th Century, English-speaking universities have not been built with a street or a piazza as a priority. Each building was to be placed on its land, regardless of the amount of space available. This was done in imitation of a monastery or palace surrounded by gardens and fields. The university was supposed to be a place of calm and tranquility, without the chaos that comes with a big city.

The expansion of universities during the second half of the 20th century facilitated this withdrawal from the surrounding community. The land was inexpensive in the suburbs. The university park tradition was honored and celebrated with the addition of car parks that discreetly surround the campus behind shrubs.

Monash University has an extensive amount of plants and animals on its campus. Monash University

What’s wrong if you have a lot of green?

There’s nothing wrong with nature, but the pressure to make open spaces “green” can be difficult to handle and reconcile with the crowd of people talking. Every corner of our campus seems to be determined to become a “garden,” to the point where the modern campus is mainly a collection of discrete buildings surrounded by gardens and connected by pathways.

The University of Newcastle has a car park hidden behind trees and shrubs. Cultural Collections University of Newcastle

This trend has been unquestionably growing for over a century. The tragedy is that these spaces do not have the power to represent a community gathering together for a conversation. The galvanization of academic areas has led to a loss of concourses and piazzas in many universities around the world. It has also weakened the connection between architecture and the surrounding area. You can find it on a campus near you. Visual and pedestrian access is limited to buildings, as is the space available for walking. A building has to be so hideous that people who might be milling about have to be moved on. Even when the original design of a space was to encourage human gathering, it is often reinterpreted by adding gardens in order to reduce the likelihood.

The modern campus design discourages people from assembling, and conversation is essential to socialized learning. You can learn anywhere – in your lounge chair, at the library, or even on your kitchen table. It is important to share one’s growing knowledge through conversation. The outdoor space is an excellent symbol for gathering, but it’s often overlooked in favor of gardening.

Campus design should reflect the university’s goals.

In contemporary education, the trend is to reduce class content that could be delivered online and open up university experiences to more conversation where students can develop and practice their learning with tutors and peers. Campus design is opposed to talk, while academics are embracing it.

For hundreds of years, towns have cultivated qualities that symbolize community and encourage conversation. The courtyard and concourse are two of the most important features which architects often ignore. There are a few universities that have yards, but their interpretation has killed the purpose of these spaces. They have been socially passive through galvanization.

This unsociable layout revolves around a long-honored aesthetic institution in English-speaking nations, the campus green or lawn. No matter how large they are, properties do not convey a sense of community or facilitate the gathering of people. It is usually the aesthetic that takes priority over its potential use as a place of meeting. Many features such as fences and strings, raised beds, changes in level and elevation, and even elevated beds are used to keep people from the grass.

Trees are the most community-friendly type of vegetation. The welcome shady trees are compatible with pedestrian traffic, pavements, sightlines, gatherings, and professional spaces. They also have genuinely eco-friendly qualities, as they produce oxygen and archive carbon. Trees are not planted for their urbanist sympathies but rather to create a simulated nature. They are placed scenographically, like a bush or park, and are meant to look as though they were part of the pavement.

The university campus is moving away from urbanism. This has led to a decline in outdoor verbal communication, as people are more likely to move along paths than spend time in courtyards.

Contemporary university landscaping is a misguided aesthetic choice laced with weak environmental sentimentality. This devalues conversation, the main reason people visit campus. The university design follows structurally unanthropic trends, which displaces the people from its conversational core.

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