In 2006, Sasaki developed Penn Connects: A Vision for the Future, which sets out an exciting blueprint for the University of Pennsylvania campus. The plan was a direct response to the opportunities presented by the acquisition of over 14 acres of land along the Schuylkill River in West Philadelphia. Since 2006, Penn has completed nearly all of the projects set out for Phase I of Penn Connects, resulting in a wide-reaching positive impact on the campus and community beyond. In 2011, Sasaki was invited to work with the school on the update to Penn Connects. Penn Connects 2.0: A Renewed Vision for the Future, Phase II will be implemented over the next five years. In addition to master planning, Sasaki has also worked with Penn on detailed studies including the development of a space plan for the Wharton School of Business. The juxtaposition of these two projects illustrates Sasaki's wide range of planning capabilities.
Penn Connects illustrates a long-term framework for the enhancement of the established campus and the transformation of key redevelopment sites and expansion areas. It establishes a vision for connectivity and new public spaces including an extension of Locust Walk, an iconic feature of Penn's historic campus. Integrating the themes of engagement and connectivity, Penn Connects introduces the "Bridges of Connectivity" concept which serves as the conceptual armature for organizing the major land uses and development zones proposed for land acquired along the Schuylkill River. The plan delineates several new public spaces including Shoemaker Green, which creates an iconic landscape and gathering space for major events at the Palestra, Penn's basketball and sports arena. The Franklin Promenade and Plaza, located to the north of the stadium and flanked by new fitness and recreation uses, is incorporated into the arcade of Franklin Field. Penn Connects also provides guidance for several major redevelopment and strategic infill development opportunities within the core of the campus. It provides sustainable design strategies for transportation, landscape, and stormwater improvements.
For the Wharton project, Sasaki worked with individual departments, faculty, staff, and the administration to identify priorities, needs, and concerns. Using interactive computer tools developed by Sasaki, the school's space information and course schedule were integrated into a comprehensive space model, which enables stakeholders to explore space assignments, room use, and classroom utilization at the campus and building level. The space plan met both Wharton's immediate concerns and its long-term needs. It designed to enable the school to strategically assess capital investment decisions and position itself for continued excellence in the years ahead.