Theses Master's

Pittsburgh School Closures: The Impact on Physical and Social Neighborhood Dynamics

Gordon, Emily

School closures can have enormous effects on students and families living in a neighborhood. School districts in many urban areas in the United States have recently been faced with the challenge of how to deal with a shrinking school-aged population, budget crises, aging facilities and poor academic performance. This has led some districts to close large numbers of school buildings. A prime example occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2006. This research will examine changes in population count, racial composition, and housing characteristics in three affected neighborhoods of Pittsburgh following the decision by the Pittsburgh Board of Education to close 22 schools that year. The research will examine how large vacant facilities affect the neighborhood’s physical and social dynamics. Data analysis, interviews and site analysis help to answer the research questions. The findings suggest that school vacancies have a negative effect on neighborhoods to varying degrees, and the neighborhood’s ability to cope with this loss is determined by a number of factors such as desirability of the area and community resources. Recommendations can help other cities to better plan for closures in the future to ensure the most equitable outcomes.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Irazabal Zurita, Clara E.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 3, 2014