Inner city schools that lease land and rely on council parks rather than their own green spaces are being proposed by the Education Minister as an alternative to buying land for new schools.
Nikki Kaye said such 'metro schools' could be a way to provide education in intensified urban areas, where the large areas of land associated with a traditional school could be hard or expensive to acquire.
They could be located on compact sites, which might be leased rather than bought outright, and use council parks and gyms rather than owning their own, she said.
The schools could make full use of the extra opportunities available in the middle of cities, such as access to museums and libraries, Ms Kaye said.
They would still have to have enough space to qualify for funding, and be close to a transport hub.
The model was already being used in several other countries, Ms Kaye said.
The government was also looking closely at Christchurch school Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery, which already resembled a metro school in some ways.
There may only be a handful of metro schools needed in the next 20 years, she said.
"Having the metro school model as another option up our sleeves means we're even better placed to ensure we keep meeting communities' needs in the future."