School Siting and Sprawl
September 01, 2009
By Mark Bishop, Deputy Director
I just read a great post by Kaid Benfield about a school in North Carolina that's exploring locations for a new building. It's an interesting read. It highlights the challenges of prioritizing a walkable school for new construction.
In this case, the district is proposing a new building that is beyond the edge of the town it will serve, Durham NC. As Kaid says, “I won't say that there is nothing around there, but what's there now is scattered and absolutely nothing is walkable.”
I know I want my son to be able to walk or bike to school, and if he went to this proposed school, that would probably never happen. It makes it harder for us all to lead active lives if we need to rely on our cars so much.
School siting has such an influence on all of our levels of activity. Can we do a walking school bus? Can kids bike to school? Do parents need to drive 45 minutes or more each way to bring kids to school? And that's before we start considering other issues related to a school's site, such as being able to use schools as community centers, shared use spaces, green design, brownfields, use of existing facilities and so much more.
Take a read. This story does a great job of highlighting the school siting issue in an engaging manner.