The Advantages of a Rooftop Garden and Other Things

Publication Title

The International Journal of Art and Design Education

Publication Date


Document Type





city planning, art education, social issues, urban regeneration, Owatonna project


Arts and Humanities


Design education is an aesthetic and humanistic approach for teaching how to contribute to the improvement of the conditions that affect everyone's lives. This article offers an overview of some important concepts to teach young people about regeneration design and the future of our changing environment. It is becoming increasingly evident that we are immersed in vital ecological relationships and with that awareness comes the undertaking of responsibly sharing the planet with non-human life, of the need to live within environmental limits, and of ways to create communities that enhance life. There is movement toward a transition from a society preoccupied with consumerism and exploitation, to one that gives priority to a more sustainable future. Underscoring the importance of this issue are three regeneration principles adhered to by many city planners, architects, and product designers: smart growth, sustainable development, and new urbanism. Each has a slightly different set of theories and practices but all have a common thread in restructuring efforts for cities and buildings to be aesthetically, economically, and ecologically healthier places for human and non-human life. Students should be taught that life-enhancing design embraces inclusiveness, is built to human scale, is eco-effective, is aesthetically enriching, and is embedded in social responsibility


Article first published online: 27 APR 2006