New Course Announcement, Coming Spring 2025

Gardens of Culture – Climate, Cities, and Wellness

The American University of Florence is pleased to announce a new course offering for the Spring 2025 semester: Gardens of Culture – Climate, Cities, and Wellness. This course will be available in both 3-credit and 4-credit versions, catering to AUF students and those studying abroad through FUA-AUF as well.


Gardens of Culture will delve into the intersection of green spaces, climate, cultural heritage, and personal well-being. Students will have the opportunity to expand their understanding of sustainable principles for creating healthy green spaces within urban environments, and integrating greenery into city landscapes.


Given the urban setting of Florence, students will explore how to reintroduce the beauty of gardens and green areas into the cityscape. They will uncover the significance of gardens in fostering positive psychophysical practices and the beneficial impact of green infrastructures on community well-being. Additionally, students will delve into the science behind the restorative power of nature, examining how gardens can alleviate stress, promote physical activity, and deepen cultural understanding, ultimately enhancing overall well-being.


The course will feature interactive workshops and visits to local urban gardens, providing students with hands-on learning experiences. Moreover, students will collaborate on sustainable solutions to benefit the city, culminating in an Experiential Learning Project with CEMI. Students will be asked to come up with sustainable solutions to help aid the city.


Academic Advisor, Sofia Galli remarked, "This course offers a stimulating blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on learning, making it highly beneficial for diverse types of learners."


The 4-credit version of the course will be conducted concurrently at the Palazzi Community Center Garden, as well as the Cafaggio del Vescovo Garden located at Via Ricasoli 21G. This extended course includes a 30-hour service-learning project focused on gardening and sustainable practices.


The overall project for students will be to write a paper on Florentine structure and mention how the city could be structured better for natural disasters such as floods, high pedestrian traffic, and how to make the city greener. This course is perfect for students who are interested in any sort of nature, sustainable living, or just wanting to give back to a city that has welcomed them into its home.


Service learning, a method that integrates intentional learning with community service, will be a key component of the course. Students will engage in volunteer projects throughout the session, reflecting on their classroom learning and contributing to the local community. This immersive experience aims to foster cultural awareness, social responsibility, and personal growth among students, enriching their overall learning experience.


By offering Gardens of Culture, The American University of Florence seeks to empower students to make meaningful contributions to their communities, while expanding their understanding of the vital role green spaces play in urban environments. This course will be extremely focused on the dialogue between mind and body, while students can experience the positive correlation with themselves through meaningful visits to local gardens and can feel it from a sensorial perspective while also learning.

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