Underutilized Space

Inspired by Legacy High School, Bismarck, North Dakota)

During a class period, students take a Discovery Walk around campus, observing and taking notes on “dead” spaces — nooks & crannies, intersections, wall sections, dark corners, blank areas, or rooms. Students interview potential users and integrate this input into how underutilized space could be reimagined and put to far better use. In small groups, students explore/research creative spaces (e.g., museums, parks) to spark inspiration for how to redesign these “dead spaces” on campus.

Set Up:

Students have a class period for their Discover walk, a class period to work in teams to brainstorm and create proposals, and a subsequent time to present proposals. Students may need materials such as notepads or butcher paper.

Bigger Bites:

  • Give students the opportunity to reach consensus on which proposals merit priority, gain approval from appropriate constituencies, and make these proposals real.
  • Students create sketches and prototypes to test and get feedback on their ideas in the real world.
  • Students continue to work through the Design cycle (prototype, iterate, test) until they have final ‘product’ that lives in the school.