[Article] Designing schools that don’t look like prisons

Student mental health has become a top priority for schools as they hire more counselors, expand services, and invest more deeply in social-emotional learning.

But school buildings and environments—including classrooms, gathering spaces, and everything in between—are often left out of that conversation.

That’s why Claire Latané, a landscape architecture and environmental design professor at Cal Poly Pomona in the United States, has dedicated her career to helping school districts design buildings with a focus on student mental health and well-being.

“The school environment is so often ignored in terms of how it makes students and teachers and the community feel,” Latané said in an interview with Education Week. “For the last 40 years, they’ve really been designed to look like and feel like prisons, often by the same architects that design prisons.”

Read more about her pioneering work in the USA school system.

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