Following an evaluation of its activities to date, the Foundation is committed to bringing a sharper focus to its support and promotion activities in public urban spaces. These activities can be assigned to the individual core themes of the Foundation – light, green or developed space - or simultaneously to more than one of these themes.

Make your schoolyard fit for future!

In early 2015 the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation and Environmental Action Germany (DUH) staged the "Schoolyard of the Future" competition for schoolyards that had already been redesigned or redeveloped. The know-how gained through the competition is now benefiting schools whose schoolyards are in urgent need of improvement.


Together with their students, the Buchenbergschule in Bad Doberan, the Hans-Fallada-Schule in Berlin and the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Schule in Wiesbaden were naturally delighted to each receive 20,000 euros for the redevelopment of their schoolyards. The two project partners will continue to support the improvement measures of the schools through to the summer of 2017. In total, 550 schools entered their ideas and concepts for the award. The federal "deinSchulhof" (Your Schoolyard) initiative has a total volume of 250,000 euros and is under the patronage of Federal Minister Dr. Barbara Hendricks.


Alexander Otto, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation said: "Last year, we presented awards to ten schoolyards which the jury we appointed considered to be forward-looking and worthy of imitation. This enabled us to gather a great deal of expertise that we can now share with the three schools so that they can make use of the ideas in their own redevelopment projects, ensuring that they too can create "schoolyards of the future". The huge number of received entries – 500 in all – underlines the fact that many schools have recognised the need to improve the quality of their schoolyards. We are delighted that our initiative is a source of both inspiration and valuable advice."

Buchenbergschule opens the schoolyard of the future

On July 12, 2017, the Buchenbergschule officially opened its newly designed "nature&experience schoolyard" at a festive ceremony following a planning and construction phase lasting one year. The primary and regional secondary school staged a competition for ideas in response to the national "deinSchulhof" initiative. The students at the school decided to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the existing school grounds. They showed a great deal of creativity in building schoolyard models and developing a restructuring plan – and, with the help of their parents, themselves put in a high number of work shifts on the schoolyard building site. The near-natural hilly landscape is meanwhile a sea of green and flowers, and the younger and older students can't wait to finally start using their new schoolyard. By working together on this project, the children have inspired a new team spirit and a new feeling of community. And the school is already planning the next major project. now that the schoolyard of the primary school has been redesigned, they will soon be starting work on the redevelopment of the outdoor area of the regional secondary school. The 550 students at the Buchenbergschule are rightly proud of their new playground.


Hans-Fallada-Schule in Neukölln opens schoolyard of the future

The modernised schoolyard of the Hans-Fallada-Schule in Berlin-Neukölln was opened during a big festive ceremony on May 18, 2017, exactly on time to mark the school's 40th anniversary. Students, parents and teaching staff not only contributed ideas but also rolled their sleeves up to work on the project. The end result is a youth corner, a water play zone and a "chillzone" with wooden platforms and a large willow house offering areas to retreat and relax. The fact that the students played their part in designing the new outdoor area forged a closer bond between them and the school itself, and the 550 students there couldn't be looking forward more to spending their breaks in the redeveloped schoolyard.


Alexander Otto, Chairman of the Board of Trustees der "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation said that "it is regrettable that the quality of the schoolyards often does not meet the high standards that are necessary to ensure a modern learning and recreational environment. In recent years, our "deinSchulhof" initiative has documented the preferences and needs of the school students and thereby gained many valuable insights. I am pleased that this know-how can now be shared in several redevelopment projects, paving the way for schoolyards of the future. I wish all the students at the Hans-Fallada-Schule fun and enjoyment in their new schoolyard."


Prof. Harald Kächele, Federal Chairman of Environmental Action Germany (DUH), said that "children are spending more and more time at school, which means that schoolyards are hugely important recreational spaces. But concrete expanses are not the places where creative minds flourish. School students need natural surroundings they can touch and feel. Thus helps them to reflect and it promotes community spirit. The Hans-Fallada-Schule has created a fantastic environment offering lots of options to discover new things, to experience nature and to continue developing the schoolyard in years to come. Well done and keep up the good work!"


Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Schule in Wiesbaden celebrates schoolyard of the future

The Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Schule in Wiesbaden inaugurated its modernised schoolyard at a festive ceremony after a planning and construction phase lasting two years. Where there used to be a grey asphalt surface, there is now a varied mosaic of activity areas. Tree trunk Mikado, a treehouse and a climbing frame encourage the youngsters to let off steam and hone their balancing skills; the roundabout and several benches and tables provide a space where children can interact and play, and between all of these zones are many bushes and trees. The new "green classroom" features a herb spiral and numerous flowerbeds. School students, parents and teachers were heavily involved in the project from the initial planning phase all the way through to planting the flowers and shrubbery. The children at the primary school took part in two sponsored runs, raising nearly 14,000 euros. Many companies in the district provided financial support for the project, because the entire quarter benefits from the new schoolyard, which has created play areas and nature spaces in the densely built-up inner city. The 310 students are rightly proud of their new schoolyard.


The redevelopment of the schoolyard is part of the national "deinSchulhof" initiative launched by the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation and Environmental Action Germany (DUH), and the Foundation is providing funding of 20,000 euros to support this project. The Hans-Fallada-Schule was chosen for this support together with two further schools in Bad Doberan and Berlin-Neukölln in a national competition for which 550 entries were submitted. The national "deinSchulhof" initiative has a total volume of 250,000 euros and is under the patronage of Federal Minister Dr. Barbara Hendricks.


Dr. Thomas Schäfer, Hessen Minister of Finance and a member of the Foundation Board of the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation said: "I am delighted that the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation and Deutsche Umwelthilfe have decided to share all the know-how gained in their national "deinSchulhof" initiative for the redevelopment of the schoolyard of the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Schule and to provide financial support for this project. A schoolyard should always be inviting and give children space to run around, play and relax. And it goes without saying that this is even more important with students spending more time in all-day schools. "Turnvater Jahn", after whom the school is named, promoted the spread of exercise and gymnastics in Germany in the early 19th century, so it is only fitting that the redevelopment of the "Jahn" schoolyard in Wiesbaden also motivated the entire school community to roll up their sleeves and "get stuck into" the project. As in the sporting field, the Jahnschule demonstrated the amazing results that can be achieved when different actors join forces to pursue a common goal in a team setting and all pull in the same direction. In my opinion, the entire redevelopment project is nothing less than exemplary, and I hope that many other schools follow the example of the Jahnschule."


Silke Wissel, "Urban Nature" team leader at Environmental Action Germany (DUH), said that "many children at the Jahnschule in Wiesbaden stay at school well into the afternoon, which means that their schoolyard is hugely important as a place to relax and interact. In this respect, the new green schoolyard has proven its worth from the very first day. The children play far more and are more relaxed when they come back into the classroom. The site of the Jahnschule isn't that big, but they've incorporated as much nature into the schoolyard as humanly possible. There are many more schools that need schoolyards like these!"