March/April 05
Issue 08


this issue...







Those of us trained in the John Donne school of campus planning will tell you about the importance of context. Linking an institution to its surroundings has more than physical implications, as this issue's lead article suggests. Our sidebar underscores the idea that effective linkages rely upon clarity. If well conceived, the design of a transition sequence - whether a gateway to campus or a building threshold - conveys volumes about a place, may shape a favorable impression, and, who knows, could ring bells.

Charles Craig


If you have reactions or ideas to share, please let us know what you think by e-mailing:



Town Gown Relations


Neighbors' Impressions: A Spectrum

Where your institution's image falls on this spectrum of neighbors’ views may depend primarily on the latest event that draws attention to the school. Regardless, the essential issue is trust, and the various planning processes — strategic, financial, and physical —can be conduits for building trust through direct communication.

Municipal Government
Campus planning staff should develop sound relationships with their counterparts in municipal government. Those responsible for physical planning should attend planning board/commission meetings on a regular basis (even when no issue directly affecting the institution is up for consideration). These kinds of actions are really the only way to develop understanding and a sense that there are common goals and approaches that can succeed. Establishing this relationship will also make bringing institutional interests before municipal authorities less confrontational.

Neighborhood Associations
Likewise, if abutting neighborhoods have advocacy associations, the institution's planners should attend their meetings to demonstrate interest and identify shared concerns. Typically, there are more issues that can be addressed to mutual benefit, than there are disagreements that divide. Some broad areas of common interest are:

Working with communities and neighbors alike to advance these interests will build the trust necessary for productive communication.

Two Schools — Two Approaches

While part of the picture sketched above is a case of topdog/underdog, in the community meetings describing the developing campus plan with Institution B, a real sense of dialog exists with an appreciation of being mutually-dependent (or, at least, interested) equals. Rather than trying to ferret out the hidden agenda, the neighborhood groups can concentrate on working with the institution to improve things for all. Of course, having established and fostered these relationships is no guarantee that specific projects will sail through community group and municipal review. But all involved do think it improves the quality of exchange and holds potential for constructive progress.

George Mathey


An Intentional Front Door

How do you know which door to a building is the front door?

In many cases, the front door is an architectural gesture while other doors are used for day-to-day activities. Subtle and direct clues, cues, and cultural symbols combine to help identify the main entrance. These include landscape and pathways, an architectural element of glass and height, material, color, signage, and sometimes a platform and stairs. In ancient times in Egypt and Asia, large statues of gods and goddesses flanked the door and
provided safety.

At the campus scale, a related question can be asked: does your campus have a front door — an easily recognized main entrance? Should it have? Some campuses have a definite main entrance — Furman University, for example has one of the most attractive.

Furman University

Other campuses have several entrances, some more defined than others — St. Lawrence for example. A number of urban campuses have no discernable entrances as their buildings are often interspersed with other property owners and buildings making it difficult to define the campus boundaries. For M.I.T., the front door to the campus really is the front door to a building — 77 Mass. Ave., under the Great Dome.
First impressions are important as students shop around for a college or university that they believe best meets their criteria, expectations, and biases. What impressions does a visitor receive when they arrive on your campus?

Although not all campuses have, or should have, a front door, visitors to the campus should know when they have arrived through physical and visual clues that help orient the visitor and guide them to their destination with parking nearby. A number of institutions have found it beneficial to have the Admissions office near the entrance, easily identifiable and accessible.

Arthur Lidsky

DLC+A 44th Anniversary
This month DLC+A celebrates 44 years of continuous service to educational, scientific and cultural institutions worldwide. Owned and operated by the principals, committed to participatory planning and design processes, we offer our clients an unusual blend of expertise and creativity, tailored to their needs, resources, and circumstances.
  Cyprus International University
A team from DLC+A traveled to Northern Cyprus in January to complete a campus master plan for Cyprus International University. The university, established in 1996 and located on the island of Cyprus, offers accredited undergraduate and
graduate programs.
For Want of A Nail
Dean & Provost published Arthur J. Lidsky's article, “Campus Planning Without an Academic Plan is Not Planning” in its February issue. For a copy of the article please e-mail
  2005 NoName Conference
Charles Craig will once again be speaking at the NoName Conference, held this year in Nashville, Tennessee. He will present A Case Study of Transformation: Realization of Campus Renewal at Spring Hill College with the College's Executive Vice President, Charmane May on 16 May at 10:45 AM. The NoName Facilities Conference is organized by an independent group of higher education institutions and consulting representatives to share ideas and discuss the latest campus developments and trends.
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