Campus Development Plan 2000

TOP | PROCESS | PLANNING | KEY FINDINGS | CAMPUS FABRIC | PENN & the CITY | GOALS

(See the full Campus Development Plan 2000 CLICK HERE)

*Photo (at left) by Terry Wild

Omar Blaik, vice president for facilites, presented an update on the Campus Development Plan at the September 13 University Council meeting. The following is adapted from that slide presentation. There will be other presentations to various Penn constituencies in the next two months. The dates, times and places will be announced in Almanac.

The intent of the Campus Development Plan is to create a campus environment that supports and enriches Penn's academic and research missions through providing a framework for campus improvement and growth over the next twenty-five years.

More specifically:

  • Recommend immediate priorities for campus improvements
  • Identify opportunities for growth and development
  • Establish guidelines for campus evolution over the long-term
  • Identifies strategies that enable their implementation

Process

  • Engaged planning consultants: Olin Partnership
  • Reviewed process with Council of Deans, Academic Planning and Budget Committee, Faculty Senate, University Council's Facilities Committee, and Trustees
  • Appointed five working committees of 60 members and made a steering committee
  • Held three open fora and consulted with campus constituencies and Trustees
  • Synthesized findings and developed preliminary recommendations in conjunction with the working committees

Next Steps

  • Review preliminary recommendations with the campus community September 2000-November 2000
  • Present final plan for Trustee's approval in February 2001

Planning Recommendations

  1. Strengthen connections between the various Campus precincts and the core
  2. Create a coherent identity by extending the quality of the historic core to the rest of campus
  3. Reinforce the historic core as the center of campus life and learning
  4. Invest on capital renewal of existing buildings
  5. Connect the University to Center City
  6. Preserve and enhance the residential community in University City

TOP | PROCESS | PLANNING | KEY FINDINGS | CAMPUS FABRIC | PENN & the CITY | GOALS

Overview of Key Findings

Academic Organization of the Campus

1. Penn's undergraduate identity is substantially shaped by the concentration of academic uses set in fine-textured historic buildings within the pedestrian core.

This historic core is vital and must be preserved and strengthened as the academic heart of campus.

2. Penn's development pattern has resulted in clearly defined graduate and professional school precincts at the perimeter of campus, but often poorly linked to the historic core.

3. Apart from the physical connections that define the campus, the undergraduate and graduate experience at Penn is significantly shaped by the quality of campus life enjoyed by students, faculty, and staff.

Hence, residential, retail, dining, cultural, and recreational activities on and around campus must be seen as enrichments to academic life.

The opportunity to stimulate additional intellectual and social mixing throughout campus should therefore be encouraged.

TOP | PROCESS | PLANNING | KEY FINDINGS | CAMPUS FABRIC | PENN & the CITY | GOALS

Campus Fabric

Buildings

1. Many buildings constructed in the 60s and 70s do not function well and suffer from systemic deterioration that represents a challenge to their effective use, maintenance and operation.

2. The many significant historic buildings contribute to the overall campus image, but often present a difficult challenge in meeting the academic and functional needs of their occupants.

3. Buildings allocated to shared academic or support use (e.g. classroom buildings) have experienced the greatest wear, but receive the least investment due to lack of clear ownership.

4. Penn has a legacy of undistinguished architecture primarily as the result of the federally- and state-funded building boom in the 60s and 70s.

New buildings must fulfill their programmatic requirements in a manner that enriches the campus architecture.

Grounds

There is an uneven application of institutional resources applied to the development and care of campus grounds: open space, paving, fixtures, furnishings, and plantings

Walks and Streets

The complex needs of a large organization and a large population overlaid upon the urban fabric, walks and streets, create a number of conflicts and cause significant wear and tear on the campus.

TOP | PROCESS | PLANNING | KEY FINDINGS | CAMPUS FABRIC | PENN & the CITY | GOALS

Penn and the City: The Campus in Context

Penn is the largest employer in the region and the fourth largest employer in the state.

As an institution it has a significant impact not only on the economic health of the region, but on the daily life of the individuals who live and work at Penn or in the West Philadelphia neighborhoods. Penn is a resource for learning, culture, entertainment and services.

East--Penn is currently disconnected from Center City to the east by an expanse of industrial land that has become, de facto, the gateway to campus.

West--The quality of the critical transition from campus to neighborhood, extending from 40th to 42nd Streets, has been compromised by the high percentage of rental properties that have been in decline.

North--Although Penn is landlocked to the north there are still opportunities for in-fill development to create a more contiguous campus fabric.

South--Large tracts of land to the south of campus represent a significant potential for long-term growth in areas well served by regional roadways and transit.

TOP | PROCESS | PLANNING | KEY FINDINGS | CAMPUS FABRIC | PENN & the CITY | GOALS

Planning Goals and Recommendations

Goal One: Extend and improve with supporting infrastructure and shared common spaces, the three primary axes which connect the various campus zones to the historic core.

1st Axis: Locust Walk from 43rd Street to the east bank of the Schuylkill River

2nd Axis: Woodland Avenue from 39th Street to Chestnut and 33rd Streets

3rd Axis: 36th Street from Market Street to the Civic Center

Goal Two: Create a coherent identity for the entire campus by extending the quality, character, and amenity of the historic core to the rest of the campus.

Extend the fabric of the campus to new development--its materials, plantings, fixtures, furnishing, and signs.

Re-organize service and operations to avoid conflicts that undermine the quality of the campus environment.

Reinforce campus gateways with appropriate designs.

Goal Three: Reinforce the historic core (33rd to 38th Streets, Walnut to Spruce Streets) as the center of campus life and learning.

Consolidate and improve the academic infrastructure within the historic core; in-fill and re-use strategies should build on the distinguishing qualities of the historic core.

Activate the campus historic core with new residential development at the east and west ends of campus.

Re-locate non-student and support and service activities to the periphery.

Goal Four: Invest in Capital Renewal and encourage rehabilitation and appropriate adaptive re-use of buildings.

Identify the appropriate uses for buildings worth preserving and rehabilitate to accommodate flexibility within that use.

Create interim strategies for those buildings that will go out of service.

Goal Five: Connect the University to Center City with appropriate urban development.

Identify opportunities for expansion to the east that enable connections to Center City and that are consistent with institutional objectives.

Goal Six: Preserve and enhance the residential communities of University City and foster sensitive in-fill development and retail initiatives.

Continue to improve the residential infrastructure of University City with existing incentives and an increased focus between 40th and 43rd Streets.

Facilitate opportunities for retail and entertainment enterprise along the emerging corridors of Sansom, Walnut and 40th Streets.

TOP | PROCESS | PLANNING | KEY FINDINGS | CAMPUS FABRIC | PENN & the CITY | GOALS


Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 5, September 26, 2000

| FRONT PAGE | CONTENTS | JOB-OPS | CRIMESTATS | BENCHMARKS: Electronic Privacy in Practice | 1999-2000 COUNCIL REPORTS: Admissions & Financial Aid, Pluralism, Communications, Community Relations, Personnel Benefits and Quality of Student Life | TALK ABOUT TEACHING ARCHIVE | BETWEEN ISSUES | OCTOBER at PENN |