schools 2050

schools 2050

spatial data analytics


Marc-Edouard Schultheiss Sonia Curnier Chloé Montavon Mathias Lerch Luca Pattaroni Vincent Kaufmann


Service de la recherche en éducation (SRED), DIP, Geneva

All proximity maps



Where to build new schools to meet the 2050 kid population proximity needs?

Each elementary and secondary school belongs to a designated geographic area, and each kid living in this sector is expected to attend the corresponding school. In the context of population growth, urban densification and infrastructure development, our applied-research project proposes a proximity-based decision-aid tool. This tool will be useful for consultations and will help authorities to pinpoint where new schools should be built to meet the demographic changes of 2050, but foremost to offer proximity to those kids.

Offering school proximity to kids is not just about living within a walking distance. It is also about habituating kids to active modes for the rest of their life, and encouraging social bounding, spatial familiarity and neighborhood effects.

The method of this project consists in crossing demographic and territorial development prospects with measures of travel time and proximity to schools. The context is horizon 2050, in the Canton of Geneva.

Some official demographic projections are made available at the statistical unit level. These units must be clustered at the level of the “school sector” – empirically defined by authorities – to forecast the population growth. The demographic projections must but altered with respect to the context, and given the anticipation of new infrastructures, the evolution of the transit system, or the development of new urban neighborhood. This, in order to better predict the movement and growth of population in the area. These situational adjustments are a mixture of prospects and urban development projects already foreseen or initiated.

The second part is to geolocate the new school facilities in a way that fosters proximity and accessibility, i.e., every kid living in the school sector must find a school within walking distance. Thus, we propose to geolocate each of the existing schools in 2022, and to compute the network-based 15-, 20 and 30-minute isochrones in the vicinity of the school facilities. Integrating Open Street Map and Open Trip Planner data into a graph allowed us to compute the travel times with schools as point of origin. The isochrones are introduced on the interactive maps below, for public transit and walking mode. The cycling and driving modes are also considered in the rest of the project.

The superimposition of demographic perspectives and proximity maps is a decision-making tool used in concertation with local stakeholders to accurately locate new school facilities, identify those that need to be expanded, and redraw sector boundaries so that every kid lives near their school.

In the examples below, the 19 existing schools “cycle orientation” are mapped and serve as an origin for the isochrone calculations.

Walking proximity map

Isochrones with walk as the only alternative. see full screen →

An average speed along the pedestrian and the road network is computed for the walking isochrones.

Public transit proximity map

Isochrones with public transit route during morning peak – derived from 2022 GTFS data and Open Trip Planner API. see full screen →

In the public transit isochrone calculation, the first and last walking segments are considered through a walking time buffer around each station and bus stop. The largest buffer for a given route is the minimum between the transit travel time and a 15 minute walk. No waiting time is considered is case of transfer.

And more…

And even more (zoom on three schools)…