Greening Chicago Schoolyards


Space to Grow is an innovative partnership led by Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands to transform Chicago schoolyards into centers for outdoor learning, play and engagement with nature and art, while contributing to a significant reduction in stormwater runoff across the city. This schoolyard is for the benefit of students and the surrounding community.

Space to Grow is a multi-sector, public-private partnership and has the active involvement and leadership of Chicago Public Schools, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the Chicago Department of Water Management. Additional partners include CLOCC and The Kitchen Community.

Pilot Schools


After a year of planning with school staff, students, parents and community members, construction is set to begin this summer.
By the end of fall, the new schoolyards will be complete! 

Schoolyard Elements


The schoolyard designs were developed with extensive input from each school and community.

Schoolyard elements include turf fields, age-appropriate play structures, outdoor classrooms, vegetable and native gardens, art and more. Green infrastructure is central to the design of each element, including permeable surfaces, rain gardens, downspout disconnections and runoffs, curb cuts, and above- and below-ground water storage.

Left: Rendering of Leland Elementary's new schoolyard design

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