March 31, 2004


Category: Urban Planning

edgeucation.gifYour Suburb: Improving schools is never a bad idea, but the trend for years has been to abandon renovation of old neighborhood school buildings and build new ones on the fringes of development.

Among the problems with this approach are that it:

  • Encourages suburban sprawl and all that goes with it

  • Removes the ability of kids to walk/bike to school, adding to parents' burden

  • New schools tend to be cheap windowless boxes reminiscent of factories

  • Does not necesarily save any money, in fact it's often the opposite

  • Abandons the cross-generational memories that tie a community together.

Anyway, don't take my word for it. Here's a much fuller report with details to peruse.

Posted by Nick at March 31, 2004 9:53 PM


Framingham, Mass., almost lost the neighborhood elementary school in the middle of the historic Saxonville section of town because of budget cuts. Parents and the neighborhood rallied to save it, and voters narrowly passed an tax-limit override to keep it open.

It's one of the few schools in this suburban community that's a vibrant part of the streetscape, right flush at the sidewalk at the start of the small commercial district. Kids can actually walk there. A local community group recently built a 2-mile river recreational walking trail that goes right by the school. It's so great that this was saved!

Posted by: Sharon Gartenberg at April 4, 2004 1:52 AM