Gregory Janks, director of Sasaki Strategies, is taking his integrated approach to planning on the road. He, along with Mel Lockhart of Paulien & Associates and Alan Travis of the University System of Georgia, are presenting the system's new methodology for measuring space utilization at SCUP Southern's Regional Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.
For the last 15 years, the University System of Georgia has implemented its campus master plan template, including traditional space planning methodologies, with the assistance of many different consultants. This experience caused the system to question the value of conventional approaches in guiding capital allocation resource decisions. Many USG institutions function reasonably well with far less space in some categories than traditional guidelines recommend, calling into question the orthodoxy surrounding space "needs." Different consultants report wildly differing estimates of needs for institutions with similar missions, enrollments, and program mix. Moreover, these needs far exceed available capital.
In response, the system, through a pilot study with six institutions, formulated a new methodology for measuring space utilization to guide space management and capital allocation decisions for individual institutions and the system as a whole. The goal was to create a process that was easy to understand and implement; one less prone to distortion than existing methodologies whose calculations are often complicated and unclear. The new approach includes an overlay taxonomy that groups spaces with similar functions to minimize the effects of mis-categorization and provide atomic units for new utilization metrics. This greatly reduces the overall number of required measurements and provides information reflective of modern space use. The resulting metrics afford new thinking, particularly for classroom and social spaces.