Due to the growing population density of U.S. cities, the subject of vertical schools, formerly reserved for the most extreme cases of urbanism such as New York City, are making their way into areas that have no familiarity with the concept.
School districts in smaller cities, and even some suburbs, must now ask themselves an important question: Why, and how, to go vertical?
Urban versus suburban schools
Our urban centers are becoming more and more populous as residents flock back in droves. As a result, increasing numbers of people are becoming priced out of city centers and are moving to what we have traditionally called suburbs. The suburbs closest to city centers are slowly becoming denser, and the lines between urban and suburban are being blurred.
At the same time, there are plenty of non-economic reasons why people choose to live outside of traditional urban areas. Access to open land is a major component of suburbs’ livability; suburban schools with a lot of land provide many amenities we often take for granted, such as a large football field and stadium, a separate baseball field, tennis courts, running track, swimming pool, and many other resources that families in less dense neighborhoods don’t want to go without.
Both urban and suburban school districts have seen enormous enrollment growth in recent years, bringing schools to capacity. If every jurisdiction had limitless amounts of land on which to build new schools, this would not be a big issue. However, in certain areas of our country, and most certainly in the Washington, DC region, land is becoming scarce. Vertical schools provide a solution that can increase a school’s capacity while occupying a smaller footprint.
Urban and suburban boundaries are blurring."]