When I came here, I was very enthusiastic to explore one of the biggest concerns that I have: How can urban policies improve the education of communities? Therefore, I took the course Healthy Places. This course is part of the urban planning section and is taught by professor Ann Forsyth. That course explores interestingly the connections between health, well-being, and places that influence our daily life, and I found that as an opportunity to match that interesting knowledge with educational issues. Thus, I have started a short investigation about how some urban policies can promote education, equity and healthy environments for children, families, and communities.
This is the first abstract of my research:
Schools + Communities + Municipalities
Promoting equity and healthy environments for children, families, and communities
Image 01: Edible Schoolyard at P.S.216, Brooklyn
Education is a tool for social change, and a school is the birthplace of social and collaborative activities that have an impact beyond the boundaries of the school. In that context, a new relationship among children, families, communities, and institutions are fundamental to open up school’s facilities and provide a new social contract that promotes collective, equitable and safe learning environments. Based on that, I explore the concept of “Joint Use” of public schools as a framework for promoting equity and healthy environments, a strategy for maximizing the use of school infrastructure for communities, a platform for public-private partnerships, and an economic strategy to use the public budget efficiently. The openness of a school’s facilities for communities brings mainly new spaces for physical activities, social interactions, emotional development and academic growth for all. Some good practices have been achieved in California through the Joint Use Agreement (JUA) and those experiences allow to think what would happen if that education reform strategy were exported to developing countries? This research proposal finds the Joint Use program not only as an innovative way to bolster the well-being of children, families, and communities but also, as an opportunity to enhance public’s health worldwide.
Finally, this is my final paper about Joint Use for the course Healthy Places.