The impact of urban vertical schools on students’ capability and wellbeing

Project dates: 2022 - 2025

Why it matters

Urban vertical schools—inner city schools built on a small footprint–are becoming increasingly common in Australia due to the densification of our cities. There are currently no evidence-based Australian precedents to guide architects or educators in designing these schools.

Project Overview

The project will develop formal knowledge-sharing processes about urban vertical schools, with a focus on ensuring that school designs will enhance student capability and wellbeing. This innovative study brings together evidence from designers, educators and students in three newly built urban, vertical schools. Project findings will point to inclusive principles for designing and leading in physical, digital and social school spaces to maximise student wellbeing and capability. Insights into student experiences in urban, vertical school spaces will have value for infrastructure spending in all schools.

Project Team

Principle Researchers

A/Prof Jillian Willis
Prof Jill Franz
A/Prof Jenna Gillett-Swan
Dr Nick Kelly
Dr Prudence Miles
Dr Andrew Gibson

Associate Researchers

A/Prof Stuart Poyntz
Dr Kylie Boltin


  • Fortitude Valley State Secondary College
  • Adelaide Botanic High School Governing Council Inc
  • Prahran High School
  • Australian Secondary Principal’s Association Inc.
  • Cox Architecture
  • Gray Puksand Pty. Ltd.
  • Thomas Adsett
  • BFX Furniture
  • J. Hutchinson Pty. Ltd.
  • Special Broadcasting Service Corporation
  • Sound Off for Schools

Funding / Grants 

ARC Linkage Grant