Ethics of Campus Planning

Campus PlanningWhen the emperor is naked do you have an ethical responsibility to recommend clothing? The ethical choices of the campus planner are rarely this stark, but the stakes are rising in higher education campus planning.

As a consultant or an employee, the campus planner balances aspirations and limitations, hopes and realities. Not long ago the only question about a department’s long-hoped-for project was when it would be funded.  In that time, when the future was rosy, it was easy to say, “Yes. We will put it in the plan.” Including the fictional project in the master plan carried no risk and was without cost. In this time of fiscal limitations, demographic shifts and technological dislocations, saying “no” may be the only ethical option. Continue reading

Campus Planning at a Breakpoint

Students going upIn the mid-20th century, a Military Industrial Complex developed to maintain the expansion of American military capability. At the same time, a Campus Planning & Building Complex developed to expand American higher education. Both worked well to produce more, and each benefited from an aura of self-fulfilling prophecy. Continue reading

Duke Oakley on the Value of Campus

Duke.interviewEarly in 2015 I sat down with Duke Oakley to discuss the future of campuses.  The result was a video in which Duke talks about the history and resilience, value and importance of campuses.  He is most passionate in describing the role of the campus as a reference point for former students as they grow into positions of responsibility in civic affairs.  He views the campus as a nearly ideal environment, an expression of what is possible.

 “As former students deal with design and environmental issues, they will have in mind a time when they lived in an environment that cared about them, that supported them, that was a joy to be in.  They will know it is not impossible.  It is entirely possible.  They will remember an environment that began to live up to the potential of all of our environments.”

Charles Warner Oakley is a graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. From 1986 to 2000, he was Campus Architect and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Design and Construction at the University of California – Los Angeles. “Duke” as his friends and colleagues know him, is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and an Emeritus member of the Association of University Architects.

 

Dissolving walls and synchronizing watches

Studio ClassroomMy campus planning course explores the future of campuses and prepares emerging professionals for these practice settings.

For the first half of the semester I experimented with making the room bigger – dissolving the walls that bound the traditional classroom. On March 3, 2015, for example, our session on the future of the campus included more than 40 students and guests in time zones from Western Europe to British Columbia. The synchronous discussion engaged students with the perspectives of academics and professional campus planners. Continue reading

The Course: Planning and Design of the University

Opportunity for Guest Participants – I am teaching Planning and Design of the University:  Future of Campus in a Digital World at Georgia Tech and University of Minnesota.  The course will be open to on-line guest participants.  A schedule for guest participants is here.

Georgia Tech students and in-class presenters will be in an on-campus classroom/studio.  Minnesota students, remote presenters and guest participants will join via web conference.

A limited number of “seats” are available for guest participants, for seven Tuesdays beginning January 20 through March 3, 2015 from 6pm to 8:30 Eastern (5pm to 7:30 Central).  A syllabus for the entire 15 week course is here.

Please let me know of your interest in participating by sending an email before January 15 to mhaggans@umn.edu.  Please put Guest in the subject line.


This guest participant opportunity is made possible by the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

 

 

Future of the Campus in a Digital World

2 by 1 by 3As the need for synchronous place and time evaporates, the physical campus must provide values that are not available by other means. Campuses need to be transformed as if their survival were at stake.

Future of the Campus in a Digital World. is my assessment of the state of the campus at the close of 2014.  It is in the form of a 10 page pdf.  I hope you will share it with your colleagues and let me know your thoughts.

Campus Closed

Campus ClosedIt is just a matter of time until your campus will be closed. Usually it will be temporary. Sometimes it will be permanent.

Whether by snow and ice, wind, fire, flood, civil disorder or bankruptcy, you may be certain that your campus will be closed. It is just a matter of when and how long the closure will last. Even a brief closing provides a glimpse of higher education without the comfortable assumption of shared space and time – the familiar functionality of a campus. Continue reading

Offices are Personal, Workplaces are Functional

Office rectangle.squareFaculty offices are little changed from a time without the web, browsers and cell phones. Most administrative workplaces are just as quaint. This might be appropriate if faculty members could be in their offices, administrators could function at the speed of paper, and students did not expect 24/7 access. Times have changed faster than the campus has adapted.

Responding to this challenge is more difficult than improving teaching spaces. It is more problematic than transforming libraries.   Offices are personal. The perquisites of status and identity as well as the culture of the academy are threatened. Continue reading

The Band Plays On

Band PlayingTwo distinctly different views of reality were on display at the 2014 Society of College and University Planning conference: traditional and nontraditional – bundled and unbundled. The cognitive dissonance was there for all to see and hear.

The traditional view bundles residential experience with marching bands and the book-lined study. The nontraditional view unbundles all of this, offering credit hours and progress toward a degree without dorms, touchdowns or libraries. This all makes sense as long as they are serving different audiences – different customers interested in different value propositions. When they need to appeal to the same customer this cognitive dissonance will take the form of economic competition to squeeze what Rich DeMillo calls the middle. Continue reading

Guest Commentary by Leonard Rodrigues

The trajectory of traditional higher education may be in flux.  Yet the value of physical campus, however difficult to define, endures.  Leonard Rodrigues, former University Architect at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, has written a Guest Commentary considering the role of the university campus as a “condensation nuclei” for the city as a complex system.  Len’s observations consider the urban nature of the campus.  This thesis honors the influence of Kevin Lynch, one of his mentors at MIT, as well as the work of Jayne Jacobs and  Ken Greenberg.

A previous Guest Commentary by Duke Oakley follows Len’s piece.  While the rationales and perspectives differ, both arguments support the value and long-term viability of the campus.  My thanks to each for their contributions to a continuing discussion about the future of the campus.

Leonard Rodrigues is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He has practiced architecture throughout western Canada and from 2003 to 2008, he was University Architect at the University Alberta in Edmonton. Now based in Vancouver, he is completing a doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta.