Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.19
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date Jan. 31, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

University of Texas at Austin
PAE-3: Physical Campus Plan

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jim Walker
Director of Sustainability, Financial, and Administrative Services
University Operations
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Does the institution's physical campus plan include sustainability at a high level?:

A brief description of how the physical campus plan or amendment includes sustainability:

The Campus Master Plan represents the University’s long-term goals regarding the architectural and community objectives of the UT Austin campus as it continues to grow and evolve into the future. It seeks to serve new generations of the University by addressing the projected changes and needs of the community, while at the same time preserving the unique architectural heritage of the University.
As environmental sustainability becomes an increasing concern of college institutions, it will necessitate continued coordination with the architectural contributions of the Campus Master Plan. The following represents the University’s efforts towards sustainability found within the Master Plan.
“…To return the core campus to pedestrians and keep vehicular traffic to the edges of the campus…”
The Master Plan arranges for the removal of all daily traffic and parking from Inner Campus Drive, Speedway and 24th Street between Whitis Avenue and Speedway. These areas will be redesigned to be more pedestrian-friendly by replacing walking surfaces, landscape elements, and creating separate lanes for bicyclists.
“…The proposed master plan advocates the creation of a campus-wide system of exterior spaces and the enrichment of existing spaces by clearly defining their form and improving their quality with planting, paving, lighting and fountains or sculptures…”
The introduction of automobiles and the mass construction of science buildings since the 1950s has upset the balance between buildings and open spaces. The Master Plan seeks to restore this balance and improve the campus’ landscapes by creating five distinct types of space: courtyards, plazas, malls, walking streets and parks.
“…The goal of bringing pedestrian movement to the forefront…”
It is the goal of the Master Plan to improve upon and encourage pedestrian movement by zoning and reorganizing car, bus, service-vehicle and bicycle systems into a coordinated network so they are less in conflict with each other and pedestrians walking on the UT campus. Modifications will address these conflicts, in addition to concerns over safety, timely movement, circulation, street crossings, and walking atmosphere. Future development is also proposed to be concentrated within the core of campus in order to reinforce the pedestrian quality of the campus by retaining convenient walking distances of less than ten minutes between destinations.
“…To enhance public perceptions of and access to the campus through strengthened identity and wayfinding programs…”
The University will fulfill its responsibility of providing a coherent and organized environment for users and visitors of the campus. The Master Plan proposes a signage and graphics program providing appropriate information for direction, orientation and identification with a minimum amount of intrusion.
“…These open spaces—large and small, formal and informal—combined to create a beautiful and coherent academic environment…a community of landscaped open spaces, working in concert with buildings to extend and reknit the campus”
Drawing upon the architectural designs of Paul Cret in the 1930s, the University will establish a community of a variety of new communal spaces to serve the campus. These open spaces will become the “connective tissue” of the campus, providing year-round use of outdoor space, and binding together the buildings of the University. In order to create open spaces of diverse character and use, the University will create malls, plazas, walking streets, courtyards and parks.
Plants and Lawns
The Master Plan will require a more systematic use of trees, from decreasing the future use of oak species due to the presence of oak wilting disease in the Austin area to planting large trees in continuous beds that provide better growing conditions than individual holes. Trees that serve only a decorative purpose will be discouraged in favor of trees that will provide shades spaces for pedestrians on campus. Furthermore, with a significant portion of open spaces on campus being covered by lawn surfaces that require high water and maintenance costs, the Master Plan recommends diverting greater areas to less-water dependent ground cover such as native plants or wildflowers.
“…Waller Creek was once a small stream, affording cool, shady banks for student picnics. Neglect and the ravages of time have since lessened its appeal, but the master plan advocates restoring the creek to its natural beauty and reestablishing it as a place of enjoyment. The opportunities for the design of outdoor spaces are numerous, as evidenced by the Etter Alumni House, designed by Charles Moore…”
Proper storm water management and revegetation of the stream corridor will lead to significant improvements in the conditions at Waller Creek, from its microclimate and bank stability to its aesthetics and habitat. Elements of the Master Plan will restore water-tolerant vegetation to the creek in order to help slow the water, clean it, prevent the erosion of the stream’s banks, and protect against the effects of flooding, as well as returning water flow and discharge to pre-development conditions. The Master Plan recognizes that Waller Creek provides the University with a great opportunity to design outdoor leisure and entertainment space.
“…Above all, the University today is a community striving to preserve its past, its heritage and its finest traditions and legacies…the future development of the University should be assumed only after understanding, respect and love of its past have been acknowledged, because it is in these earlier buildings and open spaces that we find the essence of our community…”
An architectural survey, performed by an architect specializing in historic preservation as a part of the Master Plan, identified thirty-seven primary buildings as providing the University with its distinct architectural character. The University will work to preserve its unique historical heritage and maintain the original architectural integrity of these buildings, regardless of the building’s importance. Changes that must be made will employ solutions that have the least impact on the original architecture.

The year the physical campus plan was developed or adopted:

The website URL where the physical campus plan is available:

A new Master Plan for the campus is under development.

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