In order to provide new schools that can build better neighborhoods
and more livable communities, some changes in planning, policies
and practices will be needed. These changes must address the planning
of schools and communities as integrated systems rather than independent
parts. They must provide for more collaborative and participatory
planning and implementation strategies, where the ideas and opinions
of parents, students, educators and community representatives
are more integral to the planning process.
With respect to the immediate issues of education and rapid growth
facing the state over the next twenty years, changes in policies,
planning and practices will be needed to:
Support more participatory and community-based planning.
Community-based planning must become one of the standard practices
of administrative and review agencies responsible for school planning,
design and construction. Authorizing legislation needed to mandate
and support these efforts will also be needed.
Support innovative educational facilities that promote
the concept of learning communities and schools as centers of
More integrative planning strategies must be developed by all
agencies and institutions responsible for urban and regional planning.
These planning strategies should incorporate methods for identifying
and systematically integrating all community needs and assets.
Support the joint use of all public facilities.
Institutional and regulatory barriers, such as legislation involving
administrative authority or public safety (such as the Field Act)
should be evaluated and modified to provide a wider range of opportunities
for the use of all community facilities for educational and other
Support the planning of urban and suburban projects
based on the principles of smart growth.
Provide authorizing legislation to support the land use, housing
and transportation principles of smart growth and additional authorizing
legislation to promote the planning, design and execution of schools
as centers of community.
Support the assessment of all public expenditures based
on the concept of Integrated Resource Development.
Develop policies and practices to support more integrated program
development and budgeting with assessment tools that encourage
and reward a more productive and efficient use of all community
Support the development of an ongoing vehicle for communications
and decision-making between all agencies, institutions and organizations
involved in education reform and smart growth issues.
Identify or develop a central coordinating institution to manage
communications and advocate for more integrated planning and design
of all state, regional and local community resources. A first
step could be convening a statewide summit to bring together education
reform and smart growth leaders to craft a common agenda and an
California has an unprecedented opportunity to consolidate and
integrate the design and maintenance of community infrastructure
to maximize the use of all community resources. The development
of an institutional framework that can support more systemic and
ecological goals is the challenge for planners and visionary leaders.
But, at best, planners can only hope to facilitate and guide the
process. A community wide interdependent living and learning environment
that is developed and sustained by its constituents is at the
core of an ongoing evolution of the American democratic vision.