Call to co-locate schools and retirement villages

Young and old person reading a book. | Newsreel
Co-locating schools and retirement living facilities will have multiple benefits, according to a Brisbane architectural firm. | Photo: Kuznetsov Dmitry (iStock)

The co-location of schools and retirement villages in high-density areas could help ease the growing pains caused Queensland burgeoning population.

A leading Brisbane architectural firm has collaborated with the tertiary education sector to develop a solution for education and seniors living providers dealing with the state’s urbanisation challenges.

Fulton Trotter Architects Director John Ward said their GrandSchools concept would help alleviate rapid urbanisation.

“Queensland is experiencing a large population boom, however many of our education and seniors living providers are finding it difficult to access and develop land,” Mr Ward said.

Queensland’s population had surged to 5.5 million with experts predicting growth would continue, increasing the current demand for education, healthcare and retirement living.

Mr Ward said Brisbane-based economic and market research firm Urban Economics had forecast 450,000 additional children aged between 5 and 18 years were expected in the Queensland by 2050, potentially requiring more than 1000 additional schools.

He said Fulton Trotter, which has designed more than 75 schools and 30 seniors living projects, was calling for a state-wide overhaul of planning regulations to enable the co-location of schools and retirement living facilities in high-density areas.

“The design-led solution would be to integrate a seniors’ living facility around an existing school to maximise land potential,” Mr Ward said.

“The design is set to revolutionise urban living amid the population surge and boost community richness amongst intergenerational learning and living environments.”

He said the concept would have a positive impact on the community, comparing it to the ABC’s television program Old People’s Home for Teenagers which showed an intergenerational social exchange between secondary students and seniors.

“Developing a school or an early learning centre and integrating this with a seniors living function in one location, opens the door to fostering intergenerational interactions and developing a rich and vibrant community,” Mr Ward said.

Fulton Trotter Architects Practice Director Justine Ebzery said the GrandSchools framework could improve the wellbeing and lives of those interacting within the school and seniors living space.

“The GrandSchools concept was developed by Practice Fellow and former director, Mark Trotter and research continues in conjunction with QUT, ACU, Deakin University and Western Sydney University, in collaboration with several industry partners,” Ms Ebzery said.