Issac Bailey, Batten Professor of Communication Studies at Davidson College, advocates for reopening schools, partly to avoid a deepening of the achievement gap. Learning from Ghana, he proposes having more classes in the open air, under canopies or tents. Increasing air circulation and encouraging natural air flow can be design characteristics incorporated in schools. For more examples of schools designed in response to crises, see here.



Photo credit: Issac Bailey

Returning to research labs is an instrumental step to recovery as universities struggle to continue running research projects while maintaining safety. Alliiance developed guidelines for how lab spaces can be accessed and where technicians can be stationed along with touch free door handles, air circulation, and humidity levels. Shared from Anna Pravinata,

Educational – Universities

Twin Cities, Minnesota

Photo credit:

Re-opening schools is instrumental to restarting the economy according to Bill Gates. Education is changing around the world as classes move on-line and as classrooms transform for social distancing. See this gallery for how different places have coped, including school cafeterias. De-densifying and one-way traffic flow are among the solutions cited for how to increase safety when children get back to school.

DIS, a study abroad center in Copenhagen, provides students with multiple opportunities to engage and reflect–alone or with others. The bright orange color sparks students’ energy levels while the organic form of seating in the library juxtaposes the rigidity of book shelves. Inspirational quotes line the walls, giving students a sense of purpose.

Pushing creativity


Close to 62% of Copenhagen’s residents commute by bike and the city’s infrastructure, from streets with bike lanes and places to park bikes and shower after a bike ride (like at DIS) are supporting this lifestyle. Biking has many health advantages, has shown positive association with academic performance, as well as economic benefits from reduced healthcare costs. Children in Copenhagen learn to bike as toddlers and use parks to sharpen their skills.

Benefits of Biking


North High School (NHS) is part of the Minneapolis Public School System and its student body includes mostly African Americans. Ninety percent of the students qualified for free or reduced lunch (Minneapolis Public Schools Fact Sheet, 2011). Identified as a ‘dropout factory,’ partly because its senior class had 60 percent or fewer of the students who entered as freshmen (Zuckerbrod, 2007), NHS was phased to close by 2014 (Xiong, 2010). This news was met with emotional resistance from both students and members of the community, who pushed back to keep NHS open (Weber, 2010). Book and science exhibits that line the halls and classrooms instill in students a sense of achievement and aspirations for the future (Strickland & Hadjiyanni, 2013).

North High School

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Project Sweetie Pie uses gardens and urban farming as devices for teaching and helping youth enjoy learning and explore diverse career paths. The organization serves as an example of supporting equality, conserving local recourses, as well as enhancing North Minneapolis’ economic prospects. Founder Michael Chaney discusses the importance of providing opportunities for youth development: “It isn’t just dollars, it’s the young people and the people who will become the leaders of tomorrow. How can we hope to be sustainable if we’re not educating those people?…. And gardens could bring in corporate fellows and their families and their children. And bring in neighborhood residents and their families and their children. It gives us a direction and goal in the community to really focus our creativity.”

Project Sweetie Pie

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Photo credit: Project Sweetie Pie

A Hanover Research report, “School fencing: Benefits and disadvantages,” uses Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) methodology to outline the benefits and disadvantages of fencing. On the one hand, it can provide safety, access control, natural surveillance, and establish the school’s perimeter while at the same time, it can limit surveillance, attract graffiti and other vandalism, restrict access so much that students take more hazardous routes to and from school, and create the feeling of ‘imprisonment’ for students. This school in Copenhagen uses a low concrete bench to demarcate the school’s boundaries, creating a border around the school while allowing students to sit and rest, cultivating an inviting and welcoming environment.

Defining the School Perimeter


When older adults contribute to the well-being of youth, it cultivates a sense of purpose and extends benefits both ways, according to a new Stanford report. In this part of Norrebro, one of Copenhagen’s most diverse neighborhoods, a school and senior living are located close to each other. Elderly and youth interact at the petting zoo or the garden, strengthening relationships, ensuring that children and teens receive attention and mentoring while older adults can experience the excitement of seeing the world through a younger perspective. 

Bringing The Old and The Young Together