With most people living in 'archipelagoes of peripheries' in a late capitalist global regime, on an earth struggling
with environmental crises, the mission of learning environments is to provide the pod for growth, whether for kindergarten
children, teenagers or adults in lifelong learning. The pod is both a protective and an enabling surrounding,
and itself a living part of a greater organism. The paper proposes an approach to creation of learning environments
through the intertwining of topographies - the owned and continual space of everyday life and dwelling; shrines - the
spaces for the new, the exalted, the non habitual; and making by the community - the continual collaboration of the
community, teachers and pupils in the design and re-design of the learning environments. All three counterparts are
profoundly context related, soundly local and of uttermost significance to identity, belonging and hence wellbeing. The
paper unfolds knowledge from diverse sources, ranging from scientific to phenomenological research, from non-conventional
community-specific learning environments to historical precedents, and from architectural theory to practical-
professional experience of the author. The resulting approach, summarized in a metaphorical nutshell as
Topographies and Shrines aims at a pod-environment of learning: responsive, inclusive, and supportive.
Keywords : Learning-Environments, Community, Responsive-Design, Dwelling, Phenomenology.
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