Siting retirement villages next to primary schools and primary schools next to secondary schools, and having these centres uniformly spaced within residential areas does several things:
1. Old people walking around and secondary school students walking to school along the same route as primary school kids (because they're obviously heading to the same location) can keep an eye out for robbers and grey vans. (Crime is more difficult. Walking to school is good for physical, mental, environmental and societal health [good luck socialising in a car with anyone you don't already know].)
2. Parents picking up and dropping off kids and waiting around during extracurricular activities can do a quick trip nearby to check on great-grandma, and great-grandma can help supervise the kids between 3 PM and 5-6 PM (whenever parents are busy). (Fosters stronger sense of village community and sense of family, more frequent contact makes elder/spouse/child abuse less easy to hide, disease symptoms more likely to be picked up on early, gives older people a place in society where they can better provide genuine services to fulfill a genuine need e.g. babysit and teach ancestral language.)
3. You can then site health centre and related facilities nearby such as exercise areas and town squares/parks, and the whole cluster should still be within walking distance of any residential area. These clusters should form the basic unit of organisation in the flesh where everyone sort of knows everyone else and can vote to choose a representative for the town council who actually lives there. Somehow this makes more sense than electing a "supercity" council who might lack specific knowledge of a local problem and might get the problem fixed faster.
In any case, closing schools ("mergers") was a short-sighted idea.
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