Campus Planning

Campus planning is based on three main planning principles: smart growth, planned communities and sustainability pillars.

U of A smart growth principles

  • Pursue a healthy and sustainable campus.
  • Realize operational, academic and social benefits to the university and the surrounding communities.
  • Create greater connections and communication with surrounding communities.
  • Create lasting, meaningful and accessible places.
  • While the university needs to maintain barrier-free access and service availability to various facilities, it will promote a pedestrian-oriented campus to the extent possible.
  • Smart growth appreciates that campus development will need to be phased.

U of A planned communities principles

  • Enhance and build upon existing sustainability and resource stewardship philosophy of the U of A by balancing the three spheres of sustainability: social, economic and environmental.
  • Create an academic and residential environment that fosters the energetic exchange of ideas and creates a unique sense of place.
  • Promote opportunities for campus to act as a living laboratory, utilizing the site for the testing and integration of future urban design innovations.
  • Provide strong connections with neighbouring communities, allowing for shared amenities and services.
  • Support and advance the university's goal of becoming one of the world's top public educational institutions.
  • Optimize use of budgetary resources and partnership funding.

U of A sustainability pillars

  • Energy efficiency
  • Water and waste water management
  • Water and storm water management
  • Ecology and the environment
  • Transportation
  • Healthy and complete communities

When we plan at the University of Alberta, we strive to be responsive to academic and research goals; foster academic and research communities; promote smart growth and sustainability; be welcoming, attractive, memorable, accessible and safe; and accommodate mutually beneficial partnerships.

We do this using the following three planning tools:

Long Range Development Plan

  • The Long Range Development Plan provides the overall planning framework for development over the next 30 years, guiding physical growth at the five campus sites of the U of A.
  • It responds to the Comprehensive Institutional Plan, which sets the academic and research goals for the institution.
  • It outlines high-level, strategic planning principles that are to be followed as development proceeds.
  • It is not a building plan, but a road map that guides future planning.

If the Long Range Development Plan is amended, a consultation process would then be implemented in accordance with Appendix XVIII of the Long Range Development Plan.

Sector plans

  • Using the Long Range Development Plan as the framework, sector plans provide the next level of detail of an integrated land use plan.
  • Land use is further refined with the identification of pathways, open spaces, nodes, circulation routes and districts.
  • Like the Long Range Development Plan, development zones represent where a building is to be located, not the actual building.
  • Build-out concepts are developed to verify massing and that the planned growth/program can be accommodated within the prescribed guidelines.

    Business case

    • A business case outlines the need for a new or repurposed building and is tied to the general space programs for the respective faculty or administrative unit.
    • It provides the institution and government with strategic information such as strategic alignment, operational benefits, program risks and a cost-benefit analysis.
    • It outlines the program that will be accommodated, the scale of the building, its budget, funding sources and respective lights-on funding requirements. 
    • It sets in motion the funding request to government.
    At the conclusion of a successful business case, substantial development for a building project would begin. A substantial development consultation process would then be implemented for the project in accordance with Appendix XVIII of the Long Range Development Plan.