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UC Berkeley Releases Visionary Campus Master Plan

After a multi-year, comprehensive planning process, Sasaki is thrilled to share the UC Berkeley Campus Master Plan.

UC Berkeley faces complex, significant challenges: a changing climate; the need for more housing; evolving learning environments and campus life activities; emerging mobility trends; seismic safety; and aging facilities. Sasaki’s consensus-based planning process generates a shared vision for the physical environment that balances visionary aspirations with institutional constraints and embraces change as an opportunity. 

Sasaki, working alongside a collaborative team of partners, developed UC Berkeley’s Campus Master Plan and Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) concurrently to ensure both efforts would align. The LRDP establishes a general framework to guide campus development, while the Campus Master Plan establishes a long-term aspirational vision. The plan celebrates Berkeley’s unique historic, ecological, and cultural assets, while providing space to meet contemporary needs and strategic initiatives–all within a highly constrained urban setting with few free-and-clear development sites.

“Sasaki was an amazing partner in this process. They are experts in campus planning, and bring a wealth of knowledge on building types and planning metrics, but were curious and humble enough to engage our specific project with a questioning and open mind. Our resulting plan is an elegant urban planning solution undergirded by real data, deep listening, engagement, and coalition building. Most importantly, they took the time to partner with us to gain buy-in on the plan from all campus stakeholders: students, staff, faculty, and administrators which will ensure its long-term success and implementation.”

UC Berkeley team

The plan addresses a wide range of topics, including academic life, housing and campus life, landscape, athletics and recreation, mobility, accessibility, seismic needs, historic resources, signage and wayfinding, sustainability and resilience, deferred maintenance, and infrastructure. The resultant vision for the campus is anchored around the following five big ideas:

  • The Glade: Celebrate and enhance the Central Glade as the campus’s legacy green space
  • The Creek: Elevate Strawberry Creek as a resilient ecological and people connector
  • Discovery and Innovation: Strengthen academic neighborhoods with interdisciplinary nodes
  • Campus Life: Reinforce the southern edge of Campus Park as a campus life corridor
  • Cohesive Campus: Unify the campus experience beyond the Campus Park

“The UC Berkeley Campus Master Plan is the product of a truly collaborative, multi-year engagement,” says Sasaki principal Caitlyn Clauson. “Comprehensive engagement with an incredible client group, campus stakeholders, and external communities informed planning and design strategies; helped the team home in on project priorities; and established a long term vision for campus development.” 

The planning process included a rigorous engagement strategy, consistent with Berkeley’s community-oriented approach. Engagement efforts included town halls, interactive work sessions, ongoing stakeholder meetings, accessibility tours, dedicated websites, and more. Sasaki found creative ways to bolster digital engagement during the pandemic by creating specialized websites, surveys, and interactive work sessions aided by Zoom and Miro. Sasaki engaged Berkeley’s Communications team and Disability Access and Compliance group to give feedback on ways to make the process more accessible, such as ensuring enough contrast in graphics, using appropriate font sizes, eliminating planning jargon, and ensuring compatibility with alt text readers. 

Sasaki principal Caitlyn Clauson and UC Berkeley Senior Planner Marissa Cheng, project manager for the Campus Master Plan and LRDP, recently discussed the plan’s engagement strategy in more detail in the Society for College and University Planning’s journal, Planning for Higher Education.

The full consultant team for the UC Berkeley Campus Master Plan and LRDP consists of Sasaki, Page, Fehr & Peers, ARUP, Sherwood Design Engineers, Biddison Hier, PGA Design / Cathy Garrett, Forell Elsesser, Page & Turnbull, IPD, and Design Distill.

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