The potential implications of where a school is built span numerous realms of public and private life. School location can influence local residential property values (NAR, 2011), rates of walking and bicycling to school, and even the cost of transporting students to school (McDonald et al., 2014). As a result, the geographic relationship between where schools are located and other community land uses, such as residential neighborhoods, has gained considerable public policy attention in recent years. Policy initiatives looking at school siting issues include the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Smart Growth America and Community Schools, as well as federal programs like Safe Routes to School through the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


The issue of school siting connects multiple institutions, both private and public, across different realms of the built environment, strategic educational leadership, and government sector, including municipal, county and state policy actors. The physical location and connectivity of schools directly involves planners via the procedural approach of engaging with and coordinating stakeholders in the participatory planning process while also introducing demographic, land use, and economic modeling projections into the decision making process. As a result, planners may introduce and present supporting documentation to the rational decision making process while also facilitating the participation of stakeholders in the school site selection and development process.