Innovation in education

Communities and schools


  • Have all the costs of closing a school been considered?, August 2011
  • Alternative education spaces in Mexico, November 2010
  • Rebuilding for the community in New Orleans, November 2010
  • Space to develop: How architecture can play a vital role in young children’s lives, July 2010
  • Public school revitalisation in Detroit, July 2010
  • A gender perspective on educational facilities, July 2010
  • OECD Work on Future Educational Environments, October 2008
  • The Mawson Centre – Access for All to Education Services, no. 57, February 2006
  • Creating 21st Century Learning Environments, no. 55, June 2005
  • Space Utilisation: Dare We Use a Pedagogical Measure?, no. 38, October 1999
  • After-Hours Use of Schools, no. 37, June 1999
  • Surplus Places in UK Schools, no. 35, October 1998
  • The Practical Considerations of Opening School Facilities to Lifelong Learning, no. 31, June 1997

Books, other articles and reports:

Agron, Joe (1998), "The Urban Challenge: Revitalizing America's City Schools", American School & University Magazine, July. In the United States one of the causes of deterioration to buildings is the lack of free time for maintenance in schools that are constantly occupied for after-hours activities.

CEEDS (Center for Environment, Education, and Design Studies). Articles at this site include "Reconnecting Community and School: Initiatives to Expand Children's Environments" and "Less is More: Learning Environments for the Next Century" which provide innovative examples resource sharing to unite students and the community.

Hacker, Michael (1994), "Using Schools after Class Hours?", OECD Observer, No. 189 August/September, OECD, Paris. The author points out some of the social and economic advantages of using schools after hours as well as administrative and other challenges such as defining responsibility for cleaning and arranging furniture, protecting display material and children's work and disputes over priority for use of spaces by different groups. He warns that "the use of a building by more than one user at different times" ...will expose any weaknesses in the management structure".

Lyons, John B. (2000), Alternative Use of K-12 School Buildings: Opportunities for Expanded Uses, U.S. Department of Education, January

OECD (1998), Under One Roof: The Integration of Schools and Community Services in OECD Countries, Paris

OECD (1996), Making Better Use of School Buildings, Paris (out of print)

U.S. Department of Education, 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Characteristics of high-quality programmes and recommendations on how projects can take stock of community needs and resources and set achievable goals can be found in the FAQ section of this site.

U.S. Department of Education (1997), Keeping Schools Open as Community Learning Centers: Extending Learning in a Safe, Drug-Free Environment Before and After School. "This guidebook outlines the steps needed to convert a school into a community learning center and lists resources for further information and assistance. It also provides concrete suggestions for estimating typical costs, developing a budget, and designing an effective program." Full text.

U.S. Departments of Education and Justice (1998), Safe and Smart: Making the After-School Hours Work for Kids. This report produced jointly by the Education and Justice departments highlights the need for after-hours activities for children along with their benefits. Full text.


To obtain information on U.S. schools and school districts that have expanded the traditional use of their facilities, visit the following websites:



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