Lansdowne School adds vibrancy to neighbourhood says director of LU's School of Architecture
School's director says demise of neighbourhoods often begins with loss of social institutions
Keeping Lansdowne Public School open has the support of Terrance Galvin, the founding director of the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University.
Galvin is also the parent of two students at the 87-year old school in the Donovan, which is proposed for closure by the Rainbow District School Board.
In order to find $3.6 million in savings, the board is proposing consolidating or closing a dozen schools.
One of the proposals for the central Sudbury area is to close Lansdowne and consolidate the students into a new, larger Queen Elizabeth School in the Flour Mill.
Galvin voiced his concerns during the final accommodation review meeting Monday night.
He says his interest in keeping the school open goes deeper than just as a parent concerned for his children's education.
He says community schools help make up the architecture of a neighbourhood.
"Just housing by itself doesn't make a neighbourhood. It'll become a bedroom community as soon as you close schools. Of course all those people that are in there they have to commute to somewhere else. And then we spend millions on the other sides of cities trying to figure how to revitalize areas that we've made bereft of social institutions."
Galvin says he follows the notion that neighbourhoods have to stay diverse to be successful, and a community school helps keep diversity within a neighbourhood.
A community school helps keep diversity within a neighbourhood
He says he follows ideas from the late urban activist, Jane Jacobs, from her book,The Death and Life of Great American cities. Jacobs felt neighbourhoods had to have social institutions to stay diverse and be successful.
"She said 'eyes on the street'...If you don't have areas that are empty and you have them vibrant, and a school brings kids, life, parents, dinners and Christmas shows, all that stuff. If you have more of that in a neighbourhood, whatever the programming is, then she said that made a successful neighbourhhood."
Galvin says many of the social and urban problems in Canadian cities are because urban planners didn't keep that diversity in place.
He says he transferred his children from private school to the public Lansdowne school, just so they could be a part of the neighbourhood.
He says his children walk to school daily and they would have to be bused to Queen Elizabeth if the board's plan is approved.
"The commuting time and driving time, and as my daughter said at the mic, lowing CO2 emissions is also [a concern]. They know that at six."
Galvin's six-year-old twin daughters both spoke up during the accommodation meeting about their concerns about being bused to a different school in the future.
With files from Angela Gemmill.