The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


New Urban Schools and Social Infrastructure

New Urban Schools and Social Infrastructure.

Olga Primary school exterior

New Urban Schools and Social Infrastructure is a UCL Knowledge Exchange HEIF-funded project based on a collaboration between Dr. Jos Boys of BSSC, Anna Jeffery from Architecture Initiative (AI) and Adam Wood from UCL’s Institute of Education. We wanted to better understand the constraints and opportunities for urban, mixed-use learning environments; the capacity for schools to offer greater social and community value, and to rethink the real estate of education in our cities.

Over the last year, key stakeholders across the production and design of urban schools have been exchanging knowledge and experiences, as well as discussing perspectives and agendas. The overall aim has been to generate a holistic, inter-disciplinary understanding of key opportunities and challenges in the provision of mixed-use education developments that can add positively to social infrastructure.

This is vital contemporary issue as a new typology of urban schools is emerging in the UK, underpinned by pressures on funding and escalating property prices that are demanding more complex, dense mixed-use solutions.

Through a series of webinars and other online knowledge exchange, we have produced a discussion paper called Educating the City: Urban Schools as Social Infrastructure. This explores what needs to change to make better use of educational facilities in their local context, through a five-point framework:

1. Broadening How We Value Schools

2. Educational Planning and Facilities Are For The Long Term

3. Join Up The Thinking

4. Enable Schools To Deliver Community Support

5. Design-In Community Potential From The Beginning

Following a final invited event in January 2021, the discussion paper will be published in both print and digital versions.

Request download of full paper