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School Siting and Healthy Communities: Why Where We Invest in School Facilities Matters

Rebecca Miles
Adesoji Adelaja
Mark Wyckoff
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 250
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/j.ctt7ztbd5
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  • Book Info
    School Siting and Healthy Communities
    Book Description:

    In recent decades, many metropolitan areas in the United States have experienced a decline in the population of urban centers and rapid growth in the suburbs, with new schools being built outside of cities and existing urban schools facing closure. These new schools are increasingly larger and farther from residences; in contrast, urban school facilities are often in closer proximity to homes but are also in dire need of upgrading or modernization. This eye-opening book explores the compelling health and economic rationales for new approaches to school siting, including economic savings to school districts, transportation infrastructure needs, and improved child health. An essential examination of public policy issues associated with school siting, this compiled volume will assist policy makers and help the public understand why it is important for government and school districts to work together on school siting and capital expenditures and how these new outlooks will improve local and regional outcomes.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-232-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. PART 1. WHY WHERE WE INVEST IN SCHOOLS MATTERS
    • Introduction and Problem Context: School Siting and Healthy Communities
      (pp. 3-12)
      REBECCA MILES

      One of the dominant population trends in recent decades in the United States is the movement of people from urban areas to suburban and rural areas. Important changes in where we invest in schools have accompanied this population shift: existing schools, mainly in urban areas, have been closed and new schools have been built in suburban locations. School construction and closures have followed population shifts but may also have contributed to population growth and distribution. New schools have been getting larger and farther from the residences where students live. These trends have left many school facilities in cities to deteriorate,...

    • Health Impacts of School Siting: An Analytical Framework
      (pp. 13-26)
      REBECCA MILES

      Earlier in the histories of urban planning and public health, there was a greater awareness of the links between the urban built environment and the health of populations. In fact, the emergence of urban planning as a profession and academic discipline had its basis in nineteenth-century public health initiatives, including tenement housing reforms, the construction of urban water supply and sewerage systems, and the design of parks and playgrounds. The work of professionals in the two fields diverged over much of the twentieth century, with public health focusing on the medical model and urban planning emphasizing land use and the...

    • School Siting in Suburban Areas: A Case Study of Maryland and Northern Virginia
      (pp. 27-38)
      NOREEN C. MCDONALD

      Deciding where to locate new schools is difficult. Facility planners must balance the educational and recreational needs of students with construction and operating costs. But school planners are also tasked with meeting community desires for the ideal school. While “ideal” may mean “walkable” to some or “lots of ball fields” to others, the resulting school location choices will influence the long-term spatial development of the community.

      Understanding how decisions about school location are made is critical because the United States has embarked on an unprecedented era of school construction (Agron 2004). School construction averaged over $20 billion per year between...

  4. PART 2. SCHOOL SPRAWL IN HIGH- AND LOW-GROWTH STATES
    • School Construction Investments and Smart Growth in Two High-Growth States: Implications for Social Equity
      (pp. 41-64)
      JEFFREY M. VINCENT and MARY W. FILARDO

      There are about 100,000 public schools in the United States, all of which combined contains nearly 6.6 billion square feet of building space over 100,000 acres of land (Filardo 2008). Nearly $500 billion (in 2005 dollars) of capital outlay was spent on this—a long-lived and spatially fixed infrastructure—inventory over the period from 1995 to 2004, with virtually 100 percent of the money from public funds (Filardo et al. 2006). The management and decisions governing public education infrastructure investment are wholly the result of public policy and budget and spending decisions—almost entirely made at the state and local...

    • The Implications of School Location Change for Healthy Communities in a Slow-Growth State: A Case Study of Michigan
      (pp. 65-108)
      MARK A. WYCKOFF, ADESOJI ADELAJA and MELISSA A. GIBSON

      Michigan, like many other North Central U.S. states, has had slow population growth for three decades. The slow growth has not been uniform, as many communities experienced slow to moderate population growth while others experienced population decline. Most of the growth in Michigan was due to a combination of intraregional population shifts and more births than deaths, with very little foreign or domestic migration. In contrast, central city areas experienced population decline largely due to out-migration to nearby suburban communities. In rural parts of the state, population decline was often the result of migration to (or near to) other small...

    • Population Effects on School District Structure and Size in Michigan
      (pp. 109-122)
      ADESOJI ADELAJA, MELISSA A. GIBSON and YOHANNES HAILU

      Schools serve as symbols of community autonomy, vitality, integration, tradition, and identity, as well as personal control and comfort (Peshkin 1978, 1982). The performance, reputation, and location of schools have a large impact on a community (Orfield 2002). Local property taxes paid by residents to support local education often represent a significant component of all local taxes paid (Murray, Evans, and Schwab 1998; Taylor 1999). Therefore, there is an imperative for schools to deliver tangible community results. In short, the success of a community, be it a city, suburban township, or rural community, is tied to schools all across the...

  5. PART 3. CONSEQUENCES OF LOCATION DECISIONS
    • School Trips: Analysis of Factors Affecting Mode Choice in Three Metropolitan Areas
      (pp. 125-146)
      REID EWING, MING ZHANG and MICHAEL J. GREENWALD

      In the next few decades, communities across the United States will need to accommodate substantial increases in student enrollment. The expected boom in school construction and renovation and the related planning decisions have implications for student travel.

      National data indicate that nearly one-third of all American youth do not engage in sufficient amounts of vigorous or moderate physical activity (Grunbaum et al. 2002). For the twelve- to nineteen-year-old age group, overweight among teenagers increased from 6 percent in 1971–74 to 17 percent in 2003–4 (Ogden et al. 2006), with similar increases in other age groups. A recent study...

    • Policy Impacts on Mode Choice in School Transportation: An Analysis of Four Florida School Districts
      (pp. 147-164)
      RUTH L. STEINER, ILIR BEJLERI, ALLISON FISCHMAN, RUSSELL E. PROVOST, ABDULNASER A. ARAFAT, MARTIN GUTTENPLAN and LINDA B. CRIDER

      Every school day, parents all over the United States wake up and follow a pattern of routine activity that could ultimately determine the safety of their neighborhood, the commute times of thousands of other people, and the health of their own children. For many parents, distance or hazardous walking conditions will limit this decision to driving their children to school or sending their children via school bus or carpool. For parents living near a school in a neighborhood with a complete sidewalk network, direct access to the school, and safe walking conditions, their decision will be based on a variety...

    • Where to live and How to Get to School: Connecting Residential Location Choice and School Travel Mode Choice
      (pp. 165-184)
      YIZHAO YANG, BETHANY STEINER, BOB PARKER, MARC SCHLOSSBERG and SAYAKA FUKAHORI

      The incidence of parents driving children to school or allowing older children to drive themselves to school has increased in recent decades. According to the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), about 65 percent of all children are transported to school in private automobiles, compared to 18 percent in 1969 (Bureau of Transportation Statistics 2003; U.S. EPA 2003). In some communities, school trips now account for 10 percent of all short trips, and close to 30 percent of morning peak hour traffic is for school-related trips (Dubay 2003). Increased reliance on the private automobile in school travel appears to parallel...

  6. PART 4. SCHOOL SITING AND HEALTHY COMMUNITIES IN PRACTICE
    • Safe Schools: Identifying Potential Threats to the Health and Safety of Schoolchildren in North Carolina
      (pp. 187-220)
      DAVID SALVESEN and PETER ZAMBITO

      In September 2010, school officials at the new $75-million Carson-Gore Academy of Environmental Studies in Los Angeles were scrambling to deal with the threat of toxic fumes emanating from beneath the school. The elementary school—named after former vice president and Nobel Prize–winner Al Gore and environmentalist Rachel Carson, author ofSilent Spring—was built, ironically, on a site where soil was contaminated by a leaking underground gasoline tank at a former gas station and possibly from oil well operations next door. The school district spent $4 million cleaning up the site, including the removal of thousands of square...

    • Engaging the Public in Comprehensive Planning and Design for Healthy Schools
      (pp. 221-236)
      ELLEN SHOSHKES

      This chapter reports on a pair of national school design competitions in New Jersey. The design competitions are for a large new high school in the city of Perth Amboy and for the renovation and expansion of the one-hundred-year-old Robbins Elementary School in a historic neighborhood in Trenton. The overarching goal of these projects was to create a model planning process to engage the public in a comprehensive, efficient design for healthy schools that serve as centers of community life that could be replicated in New Jersey—where an $8 billion court-ordered school construction program was under way—as well...

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 237-240)
    REBECCA MILES, ADESOJI ADELAJA and MARK A. WYCKOFF

    The chapters of this book point to a number of important gaps not only in the literature on the role of schools in communities but also in the way decisions are made about where to invest in schools. Contributors draw attention to compelling issues that are seldom considered when making decisions such as where to locate new schools, whether to upgrade existing facilities, or whether to create magnet programs in underenrolled schools. An important consequence of these gaps is that society misses out on real opportunities for schools to add more value to the quality of life in communities. School...

  8. Index
    (pp. 241-250)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 251-251)