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Updated BOK Chapter Provides Fresh Look at Campus Master Planning  

March 12, 2024

In 2023, APPA member Cleveland State University received an industry award for emphasizing the university’s relationship with the city of Cleveland in its campus master plan. Key principles guiding the plan included serving all members of the community, acting as an economic engine for the university and the city, and leveraging the assets of the university’s downtown location. 

Cleveland State University main campus, Cleveland, Ohio.

Paying more attention to university–community relations is just one of many ways higher education institutions—and campus master planning efforts in particular—are responding to competitive headwinds. A new update to the Campus Master Planning chapter of APPA’s Body of Knowledge (BOK) explores these trends in depth. The chapter provides APPA members with a holistic understanding of how to make the most of campus master planning (defined briefly as guiding the physical development needed to support the mission and strategic plan of an institution of higher education) in 2024 and beyond. 

The revised chapter, published March 11, was written by Linda Dalton, PhD, FAICP, professor emerita of City and Regional Planning and formerly chief planning officer at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Dalton also wrote the original chapter in 2015 and provided subsequent updates in 2017, 2018, and 2019. 

Dalton begins the chapter with campus master planning basics, including what it is, why a college or university should have one, how it supports the institution’s mission and strategic plan, and when and how an institution should prepare or update it.  She also explores factors such as: 

  • How the campus concept is changing, such as the general move from the isolated “ivory tower” model to one stressing community engagement and leadership; 
  • The critical role of university–community relations in campus master planning, as evidenced by the Cleveland State example and the Carnegie classification system’s category of “engaged university”; 
  • Higher education trends having a significant impact on campus master planning, including transformative technologies, rising environmental awareness, and an increasingly age- and identity-diverse student body; 
  • Key elements that should be in any campus master plan, including land use and site plan, academic and support facilities, open space, and infrastructure. 

Available to APPA members only, the BOK is a searchable, digital database that develops, updates, and disseminates the foundational content required by facilities professionals at colleges, universities, and other nonprofit educational organizations. Its 62 chapters, which are reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis, cover topics categorized in the four core areas of General Administration and Management; Operations and Maintenance; Energy, Utilities, and Environmental Stewardship; and Planning, Design, and Construction.  

APPA members wishing to get involved in the BOK, whether as chapter authors or peer reviewers, are asked complete this form or send an email Glen Haubold ([email protected]) and Steve Maruszewski ([email protected]), using the subject line APPA Body of Knowledge

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