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San Francisco’s Stormwater Schoolyards

Robert Louis Stevenson GI

School districts are one of the largest land managers in every city across the United States. In California alone, more than 130,000 acres are managed by public school districts. San Francisco has identified schools as a critical partner to implementing green infrastructure citywide, understanding they provide a unique opportunity to manage stormwater while delivering significant co-benefits to students, teachers, and the community. “Stormwater schoolyards” are schoolyards that prioritize multipurpose infrastructure that delivers stormwater performance while enhancing children’s learning and play opportunities. They improve our urban watershed management while also creating engaging, natural environments that add to the resilience of our neighborhoods and communities. 

Robert Louis Stevenson GIRobert Louis Stevenson Stormwater Schoolyard Project

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Unified School District have partnered to transform Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School into San Francisco’s first stormwater schoolyard project.  

This pilot project showcases a large-scale demonstration of green infrastructure that is designed to manage stormwater while promoting active play and access to nature.

Living Schoolyards as Stormwater Infrastructure 

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco Unified School District and Green Schoolyards America partnered together to host Living Schoolyards as Stormwater Infrastructure week to explore how stormwater management goals can be successfully combined with children’s learning environments. 

Stormwater design for children’s spaces is in its infancy in the United States, but has been more widely implemented in parts of Europe, including Germany. It is a complex undertaking to balance the technical needs of green infrastructure management with effectively designed, flexible and interactive children’s landscapes. In order to learn from experiences across the world, renowned architect Birgit Teichmann was invited to San Francisco to share her expertise about living schoolyard design for stormwater management. The below resources include videos of her technical training seminar and summaries of the workshop, documenting best practices and ideas on how to actualize Berlin’s design principles in San Francisco. 

Berlin GI
Berlin, Germany. Image by Birgit Teichmann.
Last updated: 11/26/2018 2:30:20 PM