Designing Urban Futures

Lockers in 2030

I’ve been working a lot in education recently. Universities, high schools, pre-K spaces – you name it, I’ve been assessing the trends and changes that are coming down the pipeline. Lately, one question seems to be on everyone’s lips – what’s happening with lockers?

Once the hub of student life, individual lockers have been increasingly relegated to the backburner. Recent reporting by the Washington Post found that most high school students rarely use allotted locker space, preferring to bring the tools they need to learn -- laptops, tablets, notebooks, smartphone -- in their bags instead. Untethered from lockers, learning can happen on the spot, whether during class, on break periods, or over lunch. Many schools are ripping out old locker stalls entirely, replacing them with shared stations distributed throughout facilities, where students can store belongings in locations more convenient to their schedules.

It’s a shift that echoes those happening in many workplaces. Space optimization, reducing real estate costs and encouraging collaboration are more often going hand-in-hand with adaptable workspaces and collaborative meeting hubs. In today’s more flexible working world, where co-working spaces and remote meetings are increasingly the norm, allocated desks and assigned offices have become things of the past. What hasn’t changed is the need to store personal effects. As such, shared locker space -- usable by the hour or the day -- is spreading throughout co-working and dedicated offices alike.