Learning From Schools

Schools are the keystones of communities and new generations of children are essential to urban stability by providing a child centred environment.

All other community social services are also dependent on generational support.

Retaining existing neighbourhood centres allows for social continuity and long term use of urban infrastructure is highly beneficial from a social, economic and environmental standpoint.



Children First

Inner communities have been badly treated by ongoing poor planning decisions which increase density by removing child friendly homes and usually replacing them with adult housing.

This can lower the number of child friendly homes below the threshold for filling classrooms and destroys the community family cohesion essential for children to have friendships.

Proper statistical information must be provided to analyze the planning problems unique to inner communities and provide custom solutions.

Unlike suburban communities which lose children as they age and have half the population left, inner communities experience a different problem. As the children leave the homes closest to the urban centre are demolished to make way for apartments designed for adults. This presents a paradox. The number of people and homes increase but the school which requires a fixed minimum number of students closes for lack of children. A further paradox is also raised since older apartments are not suitable for older people and more apartments are required.


Traditionally all the homes in a new community have parents with children at the outset and the number of children then starts to diminish 10 to 15 years after the community is completed.

To size a community to the school is normally done based on the majority of the homes having children at the outset which is 1,200 to 1,500 family homes.

Communities that have been reduced to fewer than 1,000 will not meet sustainable standards. Infill of family homes preferably on deteriorated housing and commercial in residential areas spot will provide a solution.


Maintaining Child Friendly Inner Communities

Keeping an adequate minimum stock of child friendly housing is much harder in inner city locations.

Major misuse of existing ground oriented housing includes:
1. Single room boarding
2. Small commercial and offices
3. Board and breakfast
4. Illegal occupancies and condemned
5. Demolished sites reserved for speculation

Regeneration either by renovation or replacement are the best options but under some circumstances increasing density by rebuilding to medium density on low density land may be appropriate and feasible.

Most important is a proper use of zoning regulations to optimize land use with appropriate regulations to insure retention of homes.


Start By Obtaining Demographics

Although these three communities appear similar in population and demographic they are different in many ways. For example the number of seniors vary up to 100% and corresponding children by 50%. There is a similar gap for adults between 20 and 40.

Even larger differences are seen in housing which can be in the case of apartments. The information the communities need to reach an sustainable equilibrium of adults, children and their homes will require cross tabulations not currently available to communities.


Family Affordability

Traditionally affordable housing has been provided in urban areas by having older residential buildings being purchased for rental and then allowing them to run down to maximize revenue. Unfortunately this is the exact reverse of ownership which encourages upkeep.

There are two workable ways to encourage affordability for families.

The first is to eliminate subdividing for singles existing ground oriented housing which ensures a larger supply.

The second is as in other communities to build apartments for seniors to ensure maximum access to homes for families.