Kids these days spend more and more time inside their utilitarian public school buildings, and as a result they're alienated from nature and the creativity nature inspires, writes Alison Arieff in a recent Times column. "What if we looked beyond the notion of schools as institutions (like jails, banks, courthouses) and thought about them more as laboratories for creativity, exploration and innovation?" she asks.
Arieff suggests that one way to accomplish this might be by building "green" schools (or renovating existing buildings in environmentally sustainable ways) so that classrooms are integrated with the natural world around them. In New York City, that's not as easily accomplished as it might be elsewhere, especially given the glacier-like pace of school construction here. But schools in New York could do a lot more to release kids into the "wild" of the city, where rather than explore forests and streams they might explore the world's very best museums, theaters, and parks.