ASLA Campus Planning and Design Professional Practice Network
Long range master plans are intended to guide the growth and development of a campus. Such plans are broad and have a long time horizon, usually 15 to 20 years into the future, so how can they be implemented on a day-to day basis, “facilities project by facilities project; project decision by project decision”?

This is the question posed by campus planner Robert Sena, ASLA, AICP, in an article entitled “Design Guidelines: The Missing Link in Implementing Capital Projects”. Design guidelines, says Sena, can supplement a long range master plan and help an institution “express, in three dimensional form and space, the values, mission, and land use and policy recommendations broadly stated in the master plan”.

The paper addresses such topics as:
  • how to develop an “ideal plan” to help an institution envision its goals
  • attributes and derivation of design guidelines
  • use of different types of design guidelines—prescriptive and descriptive
  • hierarchy of open space elements
  • an innovative response to an open space problem
Topics are illustrated with carefully selected examples from campuses across the country. In one example, Sena shows how the use of an “ideal plan” helped campus planners determine an approach to a very challenging situation at the University of California, Riverside. The campus is split down the middle by a freeway. This fact tended to dominate all conversations about how the university could reach its goal of more than doubling student population within 15 years. By allowing university stakeholders to imagine that the freeway had been removed, while at the same time asking a detailed set of questions about actual patterns of usage of campus buildings and spaces, the team acquired the information it needed to develop an innovative solution.

For the complete article by Robert Sena, follow this link:

Robert Sena, PhD, ASLA, AICP, is Principal of Robert Sena Campus Planning and Design. He can be reached at
CommentsComments(0)  |  Print PDFPrint PDF  |  Send to a FriendEmail Newsletter
PPN Home




Dean Gregory, ASLA, Chair
(604) 822-7913