November/December 04
Issue 06


this issue...





Fundamental Issues


Preparation of effective plans requires understanding fundamental principles that define the essential nature of the planning process and the appropriate use of its basic analytical tools. Without these intellectual and technical underpinnings, the process can easily be diverted into related activities, thereby subverting core planning goals and outcomes.

This issue examines a subtle but significant principle of campus planning that distinguishes it from campus design. While the two are related and each is required for sound campus development, the distinctions are real. Establishing clarity about the fundamentally different goals, essential concerns, and technical skills involved is important for institutions.

We also look at campus and facility benchmarking as tools to create a context for making planning decisions about appropriate levels of space allocation. This technique can reduce the uncertainty in setting targets and allow for informed evaluation of campus plan alternatives.

George Mathey

Campus Design and Campus Planning –
Don’t Confuse Them

Campus planning is a broad and inclusive decision making process. The campus plan is a product of that process while campus design is an intrinsic characteristic of the campus plan.

Difficulties arise when one is confused with the other. Design without comprehensive planning is ad hoc and lacks substance. Often, a college or university seeks a campus plan, but develops a campus design, without understanding the difference, and without understanding or appreciating the complexity of the planning process.

Vocabulary Distinguishes Planning from Design
The vocabulary that is used with planning and design is different as well. In planning, discussions focus on mission, vision, needs, programs, initiatives, curriculum, pedagogy, research, alternatives, benchmarking, condition, consensus, enrollment, funding, implementation, interaction, participation, peer comparison, timeframe, and utilization.

Words and concepts used in the process of campus design include: architectural style, building elements, campus style, design principles, campus characteristics, landscape, lighting, materials, massing, natural site characteristics, outdoor spaces, pedestrian circulation, scale, signage, street furniture, topography, and vehicular circulation.

Successful Campus Planning Begins with the Institution's Mission and Vision
To be successful, campus planning should encompass broad representation and participation within the institution and be intricately intertwined with the college or university's strategic, academic, and enrollment plans, campus life initiatives, and financial resources. The beginning point, of course, must be the institution's mission and vision.

John Carroll University recently developed one of the best examples of mission and vision incorporated into the planning process. Although used primarily for facility planning, it is a model for campus planning as well. Fundamental to the vision were six themes: curriculum integration, use of technology, student recruitment and retention, student and faculty research, pedagogy and faculty/student relationships, and pre-k-12 science and mathematics education. Each theme had its rationale, set of goals, and implementation strategies for realizing the goals. Some of the strategies had staffing implications, others had campus and facility implications, and still others had programmatic or pedagogical consequences.

Successful Campus Design Has a Set of Guiding Assumptions
Campus design, like campus planning, should have an underlying and guiding set of assumptions. Without institutional agreement on a campus design philosophy, design of a campus will be based on the architectural fad du jour, or the loudest voice, or a donor's desires.

In preparing design guidelines for future campus development, Clemson University identified overarching design principles. These principles fall into three categories –– to promote intellectual and social interaction, to respect cultural and historic resources, and to value sustainable design. From these principles, Clemson developed a set of design guidelines and planning standards that provide the University with a working framework to guide any changes to the campus. The design guidelines are more specific than the principles and provide direction for campus design, landscape, and building projects.

Campus planning and campus design –– process and product; both rely on fundamental but different assumptions; both require a related but different approach. Planning is action oriented –– design shapes the action. Don't confuse the two.

Arthur Lidsky


Sensible Benchmarking

Gauging the amount of space necessary for a particular activity or department need not mean guessing. Making informative comparisons to similar situations can be helpful, if done sensibly.

How Benchmarking Works
Nuances among institutions, their missions, enrollments, staffing, and program focus rule out apples-to-apples comparisons of the space allocated at each place.

Comparisons using ratios, however, provide a metric for general assessment. The resource being compared is the numerator of the equation: a definable spatial area, e.g., non-residential space or the area dedicated to a department. The denominator is the number of people to be accommodated — expressed as full-time equivalency (FTE), be it faculty, students, or staff.

Benchmarking may be an assessment at a departmental comparison or campus comparison. Compare institutions by sampling analogous entities, defined by context (urban, rural) or size (similar enrollments and staffing levels).

Making a Case for Expansion
For a client school, we asked:
How much land and building areas typically support an institution of similar mission and enrollment?

We assembled data on a sampling of institutions with similar urban settings and Carnegie classifications to create a paradigm profile. The sample's mean and median bracketed our client's FTE enrollment and faculty counts.

We were then able to state that our client school operated with less than a quarter of the acreage typically associated with a school of its enrollment and about two-thirds the non-residential space allocated both to FTE faculty and FTE students.

Benchmarking made the case for the campus plan to advance proposals for land acquisition and for the construction of significant new academic facilities.


Charles Craig

DLC+A Presentation at a Three-Day Seminar with Project Kaleidoscope
Arthur Lidsky led a discussion on “Principles of Strategic Planning for Leadership Teams” at the PKAL Leadership Initiative Seminar in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 20 colleges and universities participated in the seminar.
  Perspectives Article Appears in Facilities Engineering Journal
George Mathey’s “Facility Renewal” article from the September-October issue of Perspectives was selected for inclusion in the November/December issue of AFE Facilities Engineering Journal, a publication of the Association for
Facilities Engineering.
DLC+A Will Present at
MIT Two-Day Course

Arthur Lidsky will present “Campus Programming, Planning, and Design” for MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning at a two day workshop on campus planning scheduled for January 13-14. The course is designed to give students and professionals an introduction to how institutions work, how they plan, how they are financed, and how they deal with design and development projects.
  DLC+A To Be Faculty at Integrated Planning Institute
Arthur Lidsky will be a faculty member presenting on campus planning for SCUP's Integrated Planning Institute on January 20-24 in Tempe, Arizona. The session will be “Step II: Integrated Application-Integrated Planning and Problem Solving.”
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