Schoolyards as Public Spaces: the role of design characteristics in the mutualization of teenage schoolyards


At a time when sedentary life and mental health problems are increasing amongst teenagers, it seems essential to bring to light their specific, yet diverse, needs in terms of welcoming, safe and adapted public spaces for their development. This is particularly crucial while reflecting on the opening of their schoolyards to a wider local population, as advocated in many recent urban discourses.
To address this issue, Sonia Curnier (LaSUR), specialized in the study of public space design, and the association Ville en Tête, strongly recognized at the local level for its work with children in the built environment, will join forces in a transdisciplinary endeavor.
Their research project hypothesizes that the spatial, design and programmatic characteristics of schoolyards play a determining role in their ability to H1. function as local public spaces, connected to a wider urban network H2. welcome a diversity of uses and users H3. allow the coexistence of different user groups, with a particular concern for teenagers and their needs
In order to verify this hypothesis, the project plans to conduct a socio-spatial analysis of the Lausanne schoolyards attended by children aged between 10 and 15. The project will result in a typology of schoolyards, a cartography of (non)uses, and the identification of promising design strategies capable of ensuring a harmonious coexistence between users.

General information

  • PIs: Sonia Curnier (LASUR/IA)
  • Non-academic partner: Association “Ville en Tête”
  • Start date: 01.05.2023
  • Duration: 12 months