So the other day myself (a civil engineer and blogger), two landscape architects, a planner in northern virginia, and a design firm CEO had lunch together discussing the emerging trend of suburban shift to urban regions. I think we all were very thankful that cultural shifts are finally stopping the trends in suburban sprawl, but we started thinking about what the possible detriments of the new shift could entail. While we all thought that there would be the resident, developer, and jurisdictional strength to bring the new populations and commerce, we all came to the same conclusion...
How can an edge city without the benefits of owning jurisdictional lands in the same way that older cities (NYC, DC, Boston, etc) build municipal projects that serve the public? Firehouses, police departments, hospitals, schools etc. We could all think of examples of developments which proffered firehouses, and even police stations, and as far as hospitals there are hundreds of examples of high density hospitals. But when we started to think about schools we (collectively 60 years in the fairly urban area of Washington DC/Baltimore) could not think of a single truly high density high school.
We all went back to our desks and tried to conceptualize what kind of space requirements are needed for schools, how they could be provided vertically, how recreational facilities could be provided, and came back together with an agreed upon idea that could solve the issue of land cost and required school acreage.
What if highschools were developed symbiotically with private developers as part of a much large skyscraper structure? This way some of the capital up front for great buildings could be covered by the municipality who will be given a state of the art facility, and for density concessions centralized civic/rec fields could be shared space for citizens and students.
The idea can be found in more detail here for actual space requirements.
School Concept/Space Requirements
Heres the interest to the skyscraperpage community, we would love to see what a building like this would look. Sketch it to whatever level of design you would like, all concepts will be posted on my blog website with conceptualizers credits and whatever links you'd like.
The example discusses Tysons Corner/Arlington VA but really this could be applied to any new dense edge city. The building will be surrounded on all sides with 10' sidewalk and should have separated access from a school loaded side (separated by wall or landscape from the office entry side) while preserving atleast 50% of the 1st floor for retail space (try some elevation change from one side to the other). The rest of the building will be a mix of office use and residential (lets keep it around 60 floors).
Tell us if you are interested.