Harvard’s Office for Sustainability and the Built Environment & Health Student Consortium at the Harvard T.H. Chan School are sponsoring an innovative redesign of a community greenspace located on Harvard’s Longwood Medical Campus.

This case challenge asks teams of 4-5 Harvard students to redesign an existing space for Harvard’s Longwood community, to make it one that promotes sustainability, health, and knowledge generation. 

Monetary awards will be given for the top three teams:

  • 1st award: $2,000
  • 2nd award: $1,000
  • 3rd award: $500 

We are so excited about the opportunities that the Re(Design) Innovation Challenge provides the students and community of the Longwood Medical Area. We look forward to incorporating the student voice and their innovative ideas into future design changes of this space. Furthermore, we hope that this model can be replicated in future campus space planning decisions. Good luck to all the teams!

-Michael McGowan, HMS Interim Dean of Campus Planning and Facilities


Top 3 Finalist Teams:

  • Green Dream Team (Winning Team)
  • Longstain
  • The Indestructibles

All Team submissions:

The Indestructibles

Our proposed redesign of the Countway Community Garden is based on three S’s–Simplicity, Serenity. and Sustainability. Our space will cater to the needs of different people–those who are looking for a peaceful green retreat, those who want to exercise their gardening skills, those who wish to learn about growing fresh produce, or those who simply love to walk and talk in nature.






An urban oasis buildingon the garden's foundations of the Countway Library andtransforming it into a multipurpose living  library where students, faculty, staff and the local community can foster and exchange ideas, learn from each other and the space  around them. Drawing on Harvard's Living Lab theme, the new garden design incorporates biophilia, sustainability, knowledge generation, and health promotion principles to provide diverse  social engagement, educational, interdisciplinary,  and cross-cultural opportunities for the entire community. The visuals and auditory connection with nature via diverse plant beds, green  walls, pergolas to filter in light, shaded overhangs, wood-based  furniture, water flow from aquaponic fish tanks, and  wind  chimes  are  designed to reduce  stress,  increase tranquility, and improve health and well-being–a refuge from stressors of urban living and demands of work and school. Trees and vegetation help dampen ambient noise, improve air quality, cool the space, and be a source of food security.


Supporting documents


Green Dream Team

The Green Dream Team is excited to present our vision for a redesigned Countway Community Garden: The Countway CoLab. The CoLab embodies three overarching design principles: (1) sustainability, (2) usability, and (3) community. First, we will improve garden’s sustainability using innovative growing (including vertical growing, aquaponics), weathering (a greenhouse, cold frames, solar umbrellas), and drainage (rain capture, green roof). Next, residents will enjoy enhanced usability in the garden with respect to sound (T-walls, living fence), space (vertical bike racks, shade canopy, additional seating), and energy (solar panels, lighting fixtures). The garden will build community centered on collaboration (mobile classroom, study nook, integration with Harvard programs), accessibility (hybrid ramp, open seating, varied bed heights),and creative placemaking (community murals, locally-designed gate, gathering-focused design).

Supporting documents


Final Project Report


The Cherry Tomatoes

The Cherry Tomatoes would like to transform the Countway Community Garden from a hidden gem tucked away in the Longwood Medical Area to a space where a close-knit community is fostered and awareness about the environment, sustainable living and healthy eating is cultivated. Our garden is designed to promote health, sustainability and learning through the materials we propose to use, the events we want to organize and the technology we plan to use to support our various initiatives.


Supporting documents

Project website



We carefully take all design needs into consideration and finalized a garden design named “The Crystal Skywalk Garden”. This is a two-level design with a sunken garden, a glass skywalk on street level and a shutter-like shading.




Materials for Participants

Case Challenge Materials

Download the PDF

Life Cycle Assessment Tool

Fill out the survey

This is primarily intended to help you make a more informed choice when you have multiple ways to achieve the same goal, and would like to compare the downstream impacts of them.

Participant Garden Party

September 26, 5-7 pm
Countway Garden
Please RSVP to: BEHSC.HSPH@gmail.com.

Supplementary resources

Countway Library Drawings

Download the PDF

The Space



Teams will be required to submit:

  • Five-minute presentation pitch by October 14 (this can be a powerpoint presentation with narration, edited video, etc)

  • One paragraph vision of your design to accompany your video

  • A visualization of your redesign (anything from napkin drawings to 3D renderings)

  • If you are in the top three, at least one member of your team must be available to present at the final presentation on November 10 from 6-8pm

Important Dates

  • Registration opens: Wednesday, August, 24
  • Registration ends: Wednesday, September 14
  • Case materials released on website: Monday, September 19
  • Exclusive party for teams and key stakeholders held in the Garden: September, 26
  • Submissions sent to behsc.hsph@gmail.com: October 14
  • Voting period: October 17– 21
  • Semi-Finalists announced: October 22
  • Final presentations: November 10
  • Special guest at Sustainability for Health Expert Panel: December 5​

Team Criteria

  • Any Harvard student (Undergraduate, Graduate)

  • Teams of 4-5 Harvard students (Undergraduate, Graduate)

  • At least one team member must be a Longwood based student

  • Individuals who register will be placed with a team

Student Benefits

  • Interdisciplinary design experience

  • Professional and peer mentorship opportunities

  • Exclusive networking events

  • Monetary awards for top three teams

  • Easy tools for remote participation


Office for Sustainability

The complex and interconnected nature of the climate, energy, and health challenges facing the planet demand an ever evolving approach to sustainable development. Harvard’s Office for Sustainability (OFS) leads an University-wide organizational change initiative across Harvard's 13 Schools and departments to set and achieve goals for a healthier, more sustainable future.

Campus Services, Harvard Medical School

Campus Services at Harvard Medical School is committed to providing high quality services to the Harvard Longwood Campus while promoting sustainability through recycling and saving resources to reduce the University’s impact on the environment.

Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The mission of the Center is to help people understand that our health, and that of our children, depends on the health of the environment, and that we must do everything we can to protect it.

Built Environment and Health Student Consortium

The purpose of BEHSC at Harvard Chan is to promote innovative research and problem solving in a complex urban and built environment. As the world prepares for an increasing global population, new environmental changes and a more urbanized world, students need to be armed with a diverse toolkit that facilitates strong collaboration across sectors. This student consortium strives to generate discussion, create evidence, share narratives and support collaboration on the complex system of built environment and health. Objectives: Generate discussion about the intersection of the built environment and health Create evidence for the impacts of built environment on health through student-led projects Share narratives about the impact and relevance of built environment on health Support collaboration across Harvard University and Boston Schools and institutions on these topics.