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Leftover Spaces


As we look to the future in education, one can’t help but wonder what will happen to much of the building that has happened in the past five to twenty-five years (more more). Will these physical spaces remain the same, or might they evolve differently?

It seems as if we have always dealt in terms of maximum capacity. In other words, what is the maximum capacity of a given space? How many students? How does that translate into square feet or square metres per student?

What if…the pandemic forces new health and safety regulations that result in a reduction of what the maximum capacity of a space is? What if, instead, we considered what it would mean to measure spaces by their ‘ideal capacity,’ and what would that look like? What would constitute ‘ideal capacity?’ If occupancy of a given space were to fall (by regulation, or otherwise), have we thought about how those spaces might change/flex multiple times per day? How might we use those leftover spaces?

Or, inasmuch as schools talk about alternative revenue streams through the renting of campus space, what if we have yet to consider how best to monetise space, if regulation were to force us to think differently? How much more might we think about the intention behind space use? Are there spaces we would avoid at certain times of the day? Would space use be regulated by those who used the space immediately prior to us, and what might those constraints (or opportunities) be?

Leftover spaces are, I think, like leftovers from dinner. You could simply reheat them the next night. Conversely, you might think up ingenious ways to redeploy them, perhaps add an item or two, and end up with a gustatory experience you hadn’t dreamed of previously. “I didn’t know you could do that with leftovers.”

I’d love to hear the phrase, “I didn’t know you could do that with leftover spaces.”

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