Saturday, January 5, 2013

Another Reason to Care About School Design. From Good.Is.

Last fall during a stop in Los Angeles promoting his latest book Fire in the Ashes, education activist Jonathan Kozol spent some time discussing the impact of school design and environment on children. Wealthy children, he noted, tend to go to attractively designed schools with plenty of natural light, while low-income kids tend to be shuttled into ugly, windowless, stench-filled buildings that "coarsen their mentalities and tell them how little value they have in our society." Now a year-long study by the UK's University of Salford Manchester and architecture firm Nightengale Associates reveals that a well-designed school doesn't just impact student's mental state. It affects academic achievement, too.

The researchers studied 751 students in 34 classrooms at seven schools between September 2011 and June 2012 and collected data on students' "age, gender, and performance level in maths, reading, and writing at the start and end of an academic year." They then "evaluated the holistic classroom environment, taking into account different design parameters such as classroom orientation, natural light and noise, temperature and air quality," and took into account "issues such as flexibility of space, storage facilities, and organisation, as well as use of colour."



  1. Although I tried,
    and it would have been fun,
    to see how school design
    could be aided by guns.

  2. Holes you could drive a truck through.

  3. Holes you could drive a truck through.

  4. Not to sound like an elitist dick, but maybe if low income people want a nice looking school they should a) make more money b) pay more taxes and c) live in an area where tax dollars are spent building nice looking schools. The "opportunity gap" quote just bugs me.

    1. You do sound like an elitist dick. The kids in those schools are there because their parents don't do a, b or c. So the kids should be punished?

      Why does the "opportunity gap" quote give you heartburn? Isn't it the responsibility of society as a whole to make sure that as few kids as possible end up with no better prospects than selling meth or crack?

      That said, the local meth dealer probably makes a fair bit more than I do...