Strengthening Neighborhoods through their Schools: Lessons Learned from DC for Urban School Revitalization Programs


Ann Neeriemer
Perkins Eastman DC

Peter James
Perkins Eastman DC


1 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

Throughout the past decade, the District of Columbia has invested over $250 million each year in school modernization and replacement projects. These investments have supported and contributed to population growth and vibrant renewal of neighborhoods throughout the city, contributing to a more resilient DC.   This interactive, collaborative workshop session will present the overarching themes and lessons of the DC school renewal program, through the lens of the resilience framework created by 100 Resilient Cities. Through public engagement in the process, communities become more deeply invested in the outcomes and can transform neighborhoods.   The session will kick off with an in-depth look at two projects to analyze the design processes and strategies that engaged citizens, increased community pride, and created sustainable projects for the future.   Attendees will then break into small workgroups to evaluate resilience strategies and explore how their own current and future projects can contribute in the areas of Leadership & Strategy, Health & Wellbeing, Infrastructure & Environment, and Economy & Society. The workgroups will synthesize their findings and report back to the larger group.   Attendees will leave this session not only inspired to make a difference in their school communities but also empowered with specific, actionable strategies for community engagement and resilient school design.

Learning Objectives:
  • Describe the DC school renewal program.;
  • Analyze how the process and design of school facilities and campuses can impact community involvement and educational outcomes.
  • Apply concepts of essential systems of resilience to future projects.;
  • Summarize design and program concepts of sustainable education facilities that build community resiliency.
Primary Competency:

Community Engagement: Leads the internal and external communities through a discovery process that articulates and communicates a community-based foundational vision, forming the basis of a plan for the design of the learning environment. The vision is achieved through a combination of rigorous research, group facilitation, strategic conversations, qualitative and quantitative surveys and workshops. Demonstrates the skill to resolve stakeholder issues while embedding a community’s unique vision into the vision for its schools.

Primary Domain:

Process: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the importance of quality processes and practices implemented by the project team when creating learning environments. The who, what, when and how of various disciplines and applications.

Secondary Domain:

Context: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the circumstances that form the setting for the design and construction of specific learning environments and characteristics that distinguishes the project from other applications.