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November 10, 2003

UCSC begins process of updating its LRDP; first forum held

By Jim Burns

A forum that drew 65 people to a downtown conference room last week publicly launched UCSC's multiyear effort to update its Long Range Development Plan. The LRDP revision is expected to guide the campus's physical development through the year 2020.

The meeting, which took place November 5 at the UCSC Inn, provided those in attendance with a description of the LRDP project and an outline of the project's process and time line.

But the session also served two other purposes: to introduce the project team, including the consultants who will help UCSC develop the updated planning document; and to provide the public with an early opportunity to give the campus feedback about "issues and values that need to be considered as we update our LRDP," said Charles Eadie, director of campus and community planning at UCSC.

In an introductory presentation, Alex Cooper of the selected consulting firm--Cooper, Robertson & Partners--shared a number of initial observations about UCSC and the LRDP assignment:

  • His firm has the experience to tackle this job, with a resume that includes planning work at Jefferson's Virginia home, Monticello ("comparable topographically" to UCSC), at UCLA (where they conducted a capacity study), at Yale University (a planning effort to better link the campus and its host city, New Haven), and for New York's Museum of Modern Art (a programming effort that required that they mesh the ideas of seven distinct curatorial operations).

  • He and his team are ecstatic about landing the UCSC job. "We've worked on a lot of campuses, and we've never worked on one like this," he said of UCSC's visual appeal. "We're really excited to work here and hope to not screw it up."

  • He is enchanted by the "enormous change of scale on campus," adding that in a moment's time one can go from a small, intimate area to a wide-open space. His early observation: The campus's "primary expression is the verticality of the trees."

  • He found the combination of glass-sided buildings and their location in the trees to be inspirational. "That sort of dissolving of inside and outside is miraculous for the students."

  • Transportation is a significant challenge, especially movement in north-south directions. Conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles are problematic, and UCSC is not bike-friendly, making the task of navigating the campus daunting at times.

  • The relationship between the city and campus, he said, is what "fascinates me the most" about this project. But he hasn't been on the job long enough to draw many conclusions about the symbiosis that exists or that's possible.

Members of the public also used the forum as an opportunity to express their initial opinions about issues the LRDP should consider. Traffic and other transportation issues were chief among those concerns. Also mentioned were the protection of historic artifacts on campus, the campus's relationship to the open space that surrounds it, and the elements of sustainability needed in UCSC's building program.

Within the University of California system, LRDPs are drafted to support the academic goals of individual campuses; they also take into account projected statewide enrollment demand, Eadie noted at the forum.

A major influence on the new LRDP, he added, will be ideas that emerge from a parallel campus planning effort: the work of the Strategic Futures Committee, charged with identifying the range of academic and research programs that may emerge in UCSC's future.

Campus officials decided to use the year 2020 as the end of the planning horizon because that time frame will be aligned with the city of Santa Cruz's comparable planning document, its General Plan, in the process of also being updated.

The process that is just beginning will produce UCSC's fifth Long Range Development Plan, following plans that were adopted in 1963 (two years before the campus opened), 1971, 1978, and 1988.

According to a schedule that has been developed by campus officials, during the current academic year the campus's academic vision will be updated and LRDP public workshops will take place. In the 2004-05 year, a draft LRDP will be completed and work will begin on a draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the LRDP. In the 2005-06 year, the draft EIR will be presented to the public for comments, and the LRDP and EIR will be submitted to UC's Board of Regents for final consideration.

People who have questions or who have ideas that should be considered as part of the LRDP process, may e-mail them to: lrdp-admin@ucsc.edu.

As the project proceeds, the project team will provide information on the following web site: www2.ucsc.edu/ppc/planning/lrdp-2005.html.


Earlier press release on LRDP process:

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