The Fukuoka school garden in Japan has enriched the community since completion, and ten years later, the project continues to evolve through student and teacher input. With each year its habitat grows richer and more complex.
In 2003, the project began with the help of 83 grade school children, 20 teachers and 12 students from Kyushu Institute of Technology. During several workshops led by Keitaro Ito, participants made models of their ideas on fruiting trees, deciduous trees, and the water biotope, most of which were then incorporated into the final design. Through active participation from day one, the kids and teachers learned about ecosystem processes and played an active role in the realization of their imagined landscape.
Influenced by the idea of Multifunction Landscape Planning and the theories of James J. Gibson, the garden is not divided by zones of vegetation, water, and playgrounds, but instead it integrates all of the functions into a single layer. The human and environmental spaces are recognized as integral components of each other and, as a result, a child playing near the pond may simultaneously observe and learn about the blue heron that has landed to rest.
Japan is a country that has experienced rapid housing and development within the last several decades, as well as a corresponding decline in green and play spaces. The garden is a response to this issue and is an inspiring endeavor of landscape architects and urban planners to reintroduce nature back to the city, with the help and active participation of the community who it will impact.