INTEGRATION OF LANDSCAPE ELEMENTS IN THE DESIGN OF SECONDARY SCHOOL

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

Landscape is the art of designing, planning and management of land, arrangement of natural and man-made elements there on, through application of cultural and scientific knowledge with concern for resources conservation so that the resultant environment can serve a useful, healthy and enjoyable purpose Garrett(1997). It deals with the beautification and management of the environment by the organization of spaces with adequate cognizance of the basic principles of design. Landscaping is an integral part of our culture and plays an essential role in the quality of our environment, economic wellbeing of the people, as well as their physical and psychological health. Smith believes that it is a way of maintaining and enhancing the quality of human life by protecting the health of the biosphere and husbanding the key resources of the air, water, land and minerals Smith (1997).

 

Landscape is one of the most cost effective tools for improving and sustaining the quality of the environment whether in the school environment, the city, the suburbs or the country Elf (1996). Through our garden and landscapes, we acquire a personal awareness and responsibilities for the environment while we relieve the tensions and frustrations of everyday life. As rightly observed, environmental sustainability programs attempt to reduce the use of physical and renewable resources, rather than toxic materials, the protection and restoration of natural habitats and environmental values for their liva- bility or beauty Smith (1997).

 

Many great secondary schools are defined by the strength of their landscapes and open spaces, and depend on these assets as a means of attracting students. Landscape planning is a creative conservation with the purpose of reconciling competing land uses without destroying the natural and cultural resources with which societies are recognized; making the best use for mankind of the acquired space while conserving its beauty and fertility. The role of landscape design and planning in the improvement and sustaina- bility of the existing universities’ open spaces is fundamental, in establishing a working relationship between landscaping and open space management. However, Falade stresses the need for adequate knowledge of the concept of open spaces and its super imposition nature on other concepts such as garden, parks, and landscaping generally Falade (1996).

A school surrounded by an attractive landscape is an inspiration to all students, teachers, school employees and the parents. The function of landscape at schools are not just to beautify the surrounding and to provide shade but it should also assist the students’ learning process and to encourage them to love and appreciatethe environment. Acknowledging the importance of landscape at schools, this research attempts to contribute inputs in regards to knowledge of the functions of landscape at schools as not merely to assist in the learning process (Dayment& Bell 2007) but also to encourage students to love and appreciate the environment (Malone & Tranter 2003). This is because schools are social institutions, and they play a significant role in changing peoples’ lifestyle. Schools bring changes to people’s mindset and their levelof intellectuality.

 

Landscape could also reduce the temperature of the environment surrounding the schools. This is because plants that do the photosynthesis process plays a significant role by way of producing oxygen and taking in carbon dioxide that is released into the air(Wells 2000). This, to a certain extent helps to reduce the surrounding temperature. Apart from that, landscape plays the role as a security element, contributes to stabilize the students’ and teachers’ mental and psychology.

 

Landscape provides an attractive part by way of aesthetic value(MohdHisyamRasidi et al. 2013). An attractive landscape plays an important part plays a significant role in reducing emotional pressure among students and parents. Studies conducted by Ke-Tsung Han (2009) shows that the students’ interactions with plants could contribute to reduce the negative emotions, increase positive thoughts, reduces physical preassure and develops the students’ interest towards learning. Plants have effect on human psychology. Taylor et al. (2001); Hartig et al. (1991); Kaplan (1995) and Wells (2000), the positive relationship between man and the environment could provide benefit towards mental stability, improving the behavior and improve health conditions. Relationship with the environment means man’s interaction with natural elements such as plants, water source or outdoor surroundings (Kaplan et al. 1998). Contact with outdoor environment without any limitations could reduce psychological pressure in our daily life.

 

Thus, landscape that has an identity and concept, could assist in the learning process. Students experience the benefit of mental stability, relaxed mind, avoid stress and preassure, improve on their behavior and improve their mental health by way of interaction and direct contact with the environment. In the context of the attention restoration theory (Kaplan & Kaplan 1989; Kaplan 1995; Berman et al. 2008) based on the analogy that the environment is closely connected with the mental stability of an individual; that being the close proximity between the inclination of an individual who is to be recovered with the help of the environment. Relationship with the environment means that when a student is within the natural element such as plants, water source or an outdoor environment, the mind of the student would be experiencing peace, feel fresh and relaxed.

 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Education for any nation is believed to be veritable machinery for the development of a country. This is obvious because of the roles played by educated people in the development of science, social – economic and political structure to improve the individual, families and making the society a batter place to live. In the light of these values, education today must prepare the child to function effectively as an adult in the 21st century.

Surprisingly, Nigerian school are the least ready to adapt to the onslaught of new information and practices accumulating on daily basis due to the challenges ranging from industrial actions of academic staff, lack of fund for infrastructural development and a host of others. This is evident in the fact that teachers are handicapped by inadequate training and in facilities which made it difficult for them to prepare students for the new development. The school facilities themselves which provide accommodation for teachers and the learners hinder rather than enhance good teaching practices.

School facilities in most Nigerian schools today are apt to reinforce rote teaching method and further hinder the students’ capacity for independent and creative thinking. The typical school building in Nigeria is usually a simple row of bare classroom structures – often of rectangular shapes walls in which chairs, tables, which students must fight for space. According to Ezeocha (1985), inadequate physical facilities can lead to undesirable personal behaviours, and large group interaction such as sports/games, drama etc. cannot be conducted effectively without adequate physical space and equipment.