‘Carving up’ how to approach school planning: Breaking down the dietary requirements for a school site


Isabella Bower
Research Coordination and Communications Officer,
Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN),
The University of Melbourne;


Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

An analogy providing a simple explanation to the complexities within school facility planning. The presentation will evoke the imagination of the audience to relate the everyday choices we make regarding how we plan our food and dietary requirements with the challenges and unique considerations required for the design of schools.  Significance  There is a lack of Ôeasily digestibleÕ literature available on the complexities designers, educators, policy makers and educational planners face when planning for schools. I playfully use the metaphor of a meal to demonstrate key issues informed by an eighteen-month research project, undertaken by the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) at The University of Melbourne.   Key Points  We need to know that there is no one size fits all approach to school planning if we want to achieve good outcomes for our students, educators and communities. The process of collaboration between the community stakeholders, designers and planners is critical to identify local needs and opportunities for strategic partnerships benefiting not only the students but community and sporting groups as well.  This presentation breaks down the school planning process into the following considerations:   1. The user groups of the school (Catering for people with different dietary requirements)   2. The location and scale of the school (Determining serving sizes)   3. Taking advantage of nearby resources (The etiquette of share plates)   4. Planning relocatable facilities (Managing appetites)   5. Designing responsive learning spaces (Managing food group ratios)   6. Selecting purposeful and agile furniture (Breaking down specific nutrients)   7. Leading good educational practice in contemporary learning environments (Appointing a good head chef)

Learning Objectives:
  • Insight into research on school facility planning;;
  • Understanding of the body of research into school facility planning and its application in evidence based design;
  • Appreciation of the implications of the above for briefing and the design of the built environment;;
  • Understanding how information visualisations can engage and assist dissemination.
Primary Competency:

Educational Facility Pre-Design Planning: Manages a master planning process that combines educational planning, facilities assessment and utilization, demographic research, capital planning and educational specifications with a community-based vision to establish a plan for learning environments. This includes the ability to translate existing or aspirational instructional models to specific programming and spatial relationships.

Primary Domain:

Process: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the importance of quality processes and practices implemented by the project team when creating learning environments. The who, what, when and how of various disciplines and applications.

Secondary Domain:

Context: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the circumstances that form the setting for the design and construction of specific learning environments and characteristics that distinguishes the project from other applications.


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