In his book: Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places, John Stilgoe (1998) advises us to look for the seed of inspiration and wonder in the out of doors. This investigation goes a step further in asking how design can help reveal just a little bit more of that magic: what strategies and principles can designers use to help inspire and engage the heart and mind? Research shows that significant learning takes place with families and peer groups in between and outside of classrooms. In particular, designed learning places such as museums and zoos support motivation and interest for life long learning (Falk and Dierking 2000, Bell et al 2009). The same studies openly address landscape architects and other designers of the built environment, asking that they weave educational intention into their designs, supporting efforts of learners both in and out of school.
This thesis explores ideas in educative design, the creation of any place built to inspire, to teach with, or to be explored with a learning objective in mind. Learning is defined here in terms of actions to be supported by elements on educative landscapes, illustrated in the Learning Cycle for Educative Design (Figure 2.2). Also proposed are ten Principles for Educative Design (Figure 8.2). Derived from the analysis of theory and empirical studies in three disciplines–education, museum design and landscape architecture–the Principles of Educative Design stand as research based guidelines for the creation and critique of places for learning.