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Image from VEIL

VEIL, a design initiative in Victoria Australia, has an innovative proposal of reorganizing city schools. It does not appear that the plan has been implemented, but the description presents a positive view of their proposal to solve some of the educational and environmental problems facing school systems.

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Students from all quarters meet several times a week for communal activities, and expensive or large equipment and facilities are each located at one of the quarter schools with time-tabled access for all students. Classrooms are ‘virtually extended’ to other classrooms at another campus, and operate like a double-length room with one end-wall projecting the ‘other half’ of the physically separated room.

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Image from VEIL

Each quarter school, approx 4 k apart, now takes students only from its 2 k radius. Students from all campuses meet several times a week, as a school, for communal activities such as sport and performing arts. Expensive or large equipment and facilities (such as a theatre or a gymnasium or senior year science laboratories) are located only at one quarter schools, with time-tabled access for all students. Small electric buses move students around for these events; the sites of the quarter schools were carefully selected to make such movement efficient and effective.

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Image from VEIL

The Quarter schools concept school is also leading to a testing ground for some interesting technologies on the school campus, like solar shades and green buildings.

The building of resilient local systems and maintaining a low carbon and low water consumption lifestyle has demanded an increase in lifelong learning amongst community members. The idea of life-long learning is now widespread and facilities previously inhabited only between 9 and 3 on weekdays are now utilised around the clock. In response, the quarter nodes have developed as local, vibrant, community hubs and a valuable community resource. Not only do the quarter schools function as a meeting place for the purchase and exchange of local produce they also monitor and provide feedback on the health of the surrounding community and ecology.

With our economic slowdown in full swing, there are loads of talented, creative people and firms doing interesting work because they believe in projects like this. As Dale said in Make: Talk 05, “A recession is a terrible thing to waste”.