Vertical Schools as Community Hubs

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Matthews, Tony
Newton, Clare
Guaralda, Mirko
Mayere, Severine
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Cleveland, Benjamin

Backhouse, Sarah

Chandler, Philippa

McShane, Ian

Clinton, Janet M

Newton, Clare

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Vertical schools are an emerging form of school design in Australia. Hundreds of vertical schools, usually between four and seventeen stories, will be required in coming decades to respond to increasing student numbers in Australian cities. Locations will be in inner urban areas, where population densities are high and land availability is limited. School facilities for traditional academic programs, plus infrastructure for drama, music, exercise, sport, socialising, craft, play, and food preparation/dining, may all be useful to both students and groups from beyond the immediate school population, aiding the development of school-community connections. This chapter examines Australian vertical schools relative to more established European precedents. It traces community connections that can be discovered from visual analysis of plans and occupied buildings to investigate which spaces have potential for community use. How and why communities use different types of school spaces is explored. Consideration is given to the private, privileged, and public spaces of vertical schools. Questions are asked about whether schools operate as open or closed facilities and about how schools with more porous boundaries address children’s’ safety. The comparison of three Australian vertical schools with seven European examples provides helpful lessons to better understand opportunities for further improvement and innovation.

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Schools as Community Hubs: Building ‘More than a School’ for Community Benefit



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© The Author(s) 2023. This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

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Built environment and design

Building construction management and project planning


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Matthews, F; Newton, C; Guaralda, M; Mayere, S; Matthews, T, Vertical Schools as Community Hubs, Schools as Community Hubs: Building ‘More than a School’ for Community Benefit, 2023, 1st, pp. 217-232