Using K-12 Schools to Promote Sustainable Communities

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Johnson, Jennifer
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Schools are a heavily talked about topic. The history, quality, and future of schools is something of much interest to many people regardless of whether or not they have children. The majority of our taxes go to support schools and education. With such a large emphasis on schools, it was a topic I wanted to dive into to better understand how city planners plan for schools. This report summarizes my findings on how can retrofitting schools promote community sustainability. The report is organized by a background on public education including the history of public education in the United States, the history of housing as it relates to schools, and the history of public school design. Then, the report transitions to the status of public schools today, which looks at public school infrastructure in the United States, the Georgia Department of Education, and Atlanta Public Schools. A literature review gives three examples of policy initiatives, school siting requirements, and retrofitting existing infrastructure. The next step to my research was to interview current professionals in the fields to better understand the obstacles each group faces. I interviewed individuals from the U.S. Green Building Council, the previous Director of the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Vice President of Programs and Sustainable Growth at the Georgia Conservancy, an elected official at the Atlanta School Board, and the Executive Director of Facilities Services at Atlanta Public Schools. Next four case studies examined school design, sustainable educational programs, and comprehensive school planning. Finally, the report concludes with the analysis of my findings.
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Masters Project
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