School Closures & Community Hubs: Examining Livability in Ontario through School Closures and the Community Hub Framework
MetadataShow full item record
This report explores the issue of public school closures in Ontario, and the viability of the Province’s recently introduced Community Hub model to address some of the problems associated with school closures. The findings of the research demonstrate there are numerous potential impacts of public school closures, and scholars have framed these impacts of closures negatively. Scholars have argued that schools are key public assets that build community cohesion, and permanent closures of these institutions threaten this cohesion. Similarly, analysis of Ontario newspaper coverage of school closures between 2010 and 2015 demonstrated that the issue was framed predominately negatively, with the most commonly cited concerns being threats to neighbourhood cohesion and social capital. The study found that community hubs offer potential to address some of the impacts raised in the literature and news media, primarily by providing space to uphold social capital, and by preventing neighbourhood decline. At this time, however, a lack of coordinated planning and policy makes the creation of community hubs a difficult and timely process in Ontario. Until other frameworks or more concrete policy exist to support the conversion of school buildings into hubs, saving publicly owned assets for conversion into hubs remains a complex and challenging issue.