Thriving in Vertical Schools – Research Forum

Registrations Now Open – Thursday, 12th September 2024

Vertical schools have presented an opportunity for innovative design. A rich evaluation has been occurring with over 300 students in 3 schools – Adelaide Botanic High School, Fortitude Valley State Secondary College in Brisbane, and Prahran State High in Melbourne, with research partners. Stories from students have brought new light to designing for wellbeing with implications for all schools and analysis using Franz’s (2019) Salutogenic framework for wellbeing. Get a behind the scenes look at nuances and the rich multimedia data stories with recommendations for architects and school leaders who are interested in wellbeing and innovation.

Register In-Person or Online

Logo with leaf Thriving in Vertical Schools

ARC Linkage Funded Project

A growing urban population and shortage of urban land is compelling Australian education providers to invest millions of dollars in a new vertical architectural type – schools on small blocks of land in high rise buildings. With few evidence-based precedents to guide designers or educators, this project will draw out the experience of pioneers to generate knowledge sharing processes. Students are at the heart of the project with the overall question

How can urban vertical learning spaces support students’ capability and wellbeing – that is help students to thrive?

High density urban schools have the potential to encourage student capability through innovative curriculum connections to local communities including universities. Yet more ambient noise from the city and disconnection from green spaces may add wellbeing stress. Verticality means school designers consider students’ movement between floors, and light and connection with glass walls, with wellbeing benefits like social connections and exercise. Yet these same affordances may contribute to visual and sensory overload for some learners.

We want to understand the impacts on capability and wellbeing, and whether these spaces are experienced similarly by all students.

This ARC Linkage project will provide a case study to guide future education, design and infrastructure decisions. The project will begin collecting data in 2022 and will be providing updates through this website.


This project aligns to the Sustainable Development Goals: