Vertical schools as community hubs in high-density residential neighbourhoods


Vertical schools are created in response to increasing residential density and land scarcity in metropolitan areas. While these schools are often short of space for children’s recreational activity, the neighbourhood is usually rich enough to offer such amenities to the students. Vertical schools also contain high-quality facilities that the community can hire out of school hours. As vertical schools and their communities become reliant on the use of shared spatial resources, their interdependencies should be considered at different stages of planning, design and management of schools.

This paper aims to understand the successful urban design and planning considerations that lead to a convenient sharing of resources by vertical schools and their neighbourhoods. The possible influential physical, social and organisational dimensions have been discussed in this paper by studying the literature surrounding children’s use of school neighbourhoods and analysing five vertical schools in Australia. The review and the analysis show that the physical dimensions include the presence of recreational spaces in the school and the neighbourhood, their location and the pedestrian network connectivity between the school and the neighbourhood facilities. The social characteristics include the volume of car traffic and pedestrian traffic in the neighbourhood, and parental concerns for children’s travel to the external recreational resources. The organisational dimensions include road rules and services and the collaboration between the school and their local agencies. The study suggests that for the community to share the school and neighbourhood resources successfully, this framework may be taken into account. The shared use of facilities can strengthen the concept of vertical schools as community hubs and increase the availability of recreational resources for both children and other members of the community in high-density neighbourhoods.

Keywords:  Vertical schools, community hubs, recreational resources, neighbourhood facilities, school design and planning

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