Utilizing spatial and landscape planning to promote ecological conservation on university campuses

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Universities globally have committed themselves to behaving as responsible citizens in addressing global ecological challenges through physical planning and management of their campuses. At the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, a comprehensive, two-year planning effort was made to revise the vision and physical plans of the main university campus in Haifa to meet emerging 21st century challenges facing the academic community. Defining and addressing ecological challenges was integral to this effort and an ecological advisory team worked closely with campus planners to envision an ecologically sustainable campus. This paper reflects upon this process, from its first stages of problem definition and goal setting, through a multifaceted ecological survey and the integration of architectural and urban planning students into the planning process, to production of the final statutory zoning plan and strategic master plan. The study highlights the particular challenges of a campus that sits on the interface between urban and natural ecosystems and one that demands rapid development with a concurrent desire to preserve ecological integrity. Conclusions highlight the universality of the ecological responsibilities and challenges that universities face, suggest general strategies for exploiting the planning process towards ecological sustainability goals, and advocate for the integration of students into campus design activities.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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