Tidal Wave II

Planners work to turn enrollment "problem" into "possibility"

By Jennifer Lawrence, Capital Projects
Posted 26 Jan 2000

In the late 1980s, the University of California encouraged every campus to prepare and adopt new plans for long-range physical development, to guide the next 15 years of campus planning.

The Berkeley Long Range Development Plan, adopted in 1990, began with fundamental enrollment assumptions. The 1990 plan's "optimal" enrollment, balancing program requirements, physical campus resources, housing and faculty recruitment needs, state and community interests, was 29,000 students. While expanding central campus space to address overcrowding of programs, the 1990 plan projected reducing student enrollment over 15 years. This principle was further elaborated in a legal agreement between the campus and the city of Berkeley. Laboratory planning, housing development and parking planning for the campus have all been impacted by assumptions about enrollment.

New enrollment assumptions will require a revised Long Range Development Plan, and an examination of current conditions, providing new opportunities for problem-solving in a new century.

Consider that:

  • While we plan for continued student access and academic excellence at Berkeley, more than a quarter of campus buildings are seismically poor.

  • Berkeley's physical plant and infrastructure is the oldest in the UC system.

  • On three sides, the campus is cheek to jowl with core urban and residential areas of the city of Berkeley, and on the fourth to steep hills, constraining the developable area.

  • Roadways of the city of Berkeley provide the only direct auto access to the campus, although mass transit offers options.

  • The high-cost Bay Area housing market influences faculty recruitment, affordability of a Berkeley education for students, staff retention and commuter trips.

  • The culture and character of the campus demand protection of precious landscapes and significant historic buildings.

  • Interdisciplinary research trends require new more flexible facilities to maintain Berkeley's research excellence and edge.
By examining those issues, campus planners must answer the question of how might a new long range development plan translate problem into possibility?

Good guidance for an updated plan will depend upon the outcomes of the New Century Plan, which when completed will provide the campus a strategic vision for the future of its facilities, and upon continuing commitment to a physical campus that provides education, inspiration and opportunity to its broad constituency of Californians.

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