Schools have traditionally been the focal points of our communities. They provide a place to educate our children, but can also add architectural beauty, anchor a community's "public realm" and give citizens access to recreational, civic and public space.
If located far from neighborhood centers, however, schools no longer serve as the hub of community life. Students, teachers and parents cannot walk or bicycle to school, but must drive, leading to traffic congestion, commuting costs, road-building expenses, poorer air quality and more dangerous streets for those students who do walk. Young families that otherwise might stay in urban centers and existing communities are forced to uproot themselves as their children get older.
In this section, we discuss ways that the school can remain, or once again become, the heart of community life and at the same time save taxpayer money, encourage efficient development patterns, and promote more active and healthy lifestyles for our children.
- Reduce or eliminate acreage standards for K-12 schools
- Help communities coordinate school siting and land use planning
- Revise school construction funding formulas
- Increase State share of education costs in communities that are increasing density
- Establish a "Safe Routes to School" program
- Start a Walk to School Day
- Encourage the sharing of school facilities for community use
- Develop a land use and development curriculum for K-12 students
- Encourage universities to develop Smart Growth Centers