Environment research website to gather personal stories of school closures

Originally posted on University of Waterloo: https://uwaterloo.ca/environment/news/environment-research-website-gather-personal-stories-school

By Sam Toman
April 2, 2014

Mark Seasons

Mark Seasons of the School of Planning and Bill Irwin of Western University, have launched a website for School Closure Policy Research intended to be a platform to inform and guide discussion about school closures and the associated accommodation review process.

School closures have an impact on more than just students. Families, teachers, communities, neighbourhood associations, and municipal governments are all affected when a school is closed.

Part of a project that explores the policy implications of school closures, the website is one of the outcomes of a 2013-14 SSHRC Insight Development Grant, valued at $8,000. The website is the start of a larger process involving data collection, information and examples of the practice of school closures and its impact on communities.

Often a controversial topic of general interest, little research has been done that examines the impact of public policy in this area. Grounded in developing and implementing a better decision making process with regards to accommodation review, the research team, (which also includes University of Waterloo MA Candidate in Planning Rob Rappolt) are concentrated on three areas of focus: public participation, urban planning, and the accommodation review process itself.

School Closure Policy Research logo

This project’s goal is to examine the role of public participation in the context of school board accommodation review decision-making processes. Public participation is considered a weak element in accommodation review processes. The manner in which school boards interact with community stakeholders seems problematic and a major contributor to dissatisfaction with accommodation reviews, particularly school closure decisions. The theory on public participation is extensive and diverse, representing more than 40 years of research and reflection in the fields of policy studies, public administration and urban planning.

To visit the website, visit https://uwaterloo.ca/school-closure-policy-research/