Brown Logo

The News Service
38 Brown Street / Box R
Providence RI 02912

401 863-2476
Fax 863-9595

Distributed October 11, 2003
Contact Tracie Sweeney

A master plan for campus development
Corporation adopts Strategic Framework for Physical Planning

The Corporation of Brown University has accepted a sweeping report and adopted its set of principles to guide the University’s growth for the next half century. The Strategic Framework for Physical Planning offers three key recommendations: Develop a circulation infrastructure to unify and enhance the campus; consolidate the core; and move beyond College Hill.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. —– At their fall meeting Saturday, Oct. 11, 2003, members of the Corporation of Brown University accepted an architectural consultant’s report about the Brown campus. They unanimously endorsed and adopted the report’s principles as a guide for University decisions about development of campus spaces and buildings during the next 10 to 15 years and for the Corporation’s strategic planning of longer-term campus growth.

In June 2002, the University engaged the architectural firm of Kliment & Halsband to develop a master plan for the 143-acre Providence campus that would support the Initiatives for Academic Enrichment, particularly its provisions for a greatly expanded faculty. Architect Frances Halsband led an analysis of existing buildings, land use, open space, campus history and zoning provisions. She and her colleagues also explored how people get to campus and, once there, how they move around and have a sense of place.

The consultant’s analysis culminated in a report titled Strategic Framework for Physical Planning. At its core are three principles that describe a strategy for enhancing the campus environment, for making more effective use of existing campus assets, for meeting short- and intermediate-term space needs through expansion of facilities on campus and selected acquisitions off campus, and for positioning the University for longer-term growth.

The three principles are:

  • Develop a circulation infrastructure to foster community and unify and enhance the campus and its surroundings. The report encourages the University to begin by creating a new walkway linking the Pembroke campus to the University’s historic core;
  • Consolidate the core of the campus. The report suggests that the University could gain more than a million square feet within the historic core in a way that would enhance the quality of the campus and preserve landscaped green space;
  • Move beyond College Hill. The consultants determined that the University’s long-term growth needs cannot be accommodated fully on College Hill and recommended that the University begin to explore other options.

Develop circulation infrastructure

The consultant’s report recommended the following:

  • Develop walkways between the central campus and the Pembroke campus, along Fones Alley, and in other areas to strengthen and enhance the network of walking paths;
  • Continue to work with the local community to improve Thayer Street and other streetscapes on College Hill;
  • Provide a shuttle system connecting the main campus to satellite campus locations in the Jewelry District and to affiliated hospitals;
  • Look for opportunities to build remote parking facilities in proximity to shuttle routes.

One area offering great potential is a path which runs roughly from Lyman Hall on Lincoln Field to the Pembroke campus. The framework outlines how underutilized space along either side of that walk has the potential to become the site of new buildings that would transform the north-south route into a more formal pedestrian avenue similar to the University of Pennsylvania’s Locust Walk.

The concept isn’t new: The consultants discovered that just such a walk was first proposed by the Olmsted Brothers in their 1902 plan for the development of Lincoln Green.

Consolidate the core

Studies show that Brown will need approximately 500,000 square feet of additional academic space on campus during the next 10 to 15 years. The framework suggests that the University could add more than a million square feet in a way that would enhance the quality of the campus and preserve landscaped green space. This recommendation includes the following guidelines:

  • The core elements of the campus will remain on College Hill;
  • As appropriate, cluster academic growth at the heart of the campus to support collaboration and multidisciplinary innovation;
  • Look for opportunities for adaptive reuse of existing historic buildings at the center before considering new construction;
  • Relate campus development at the edges of the campus to the surrounding environments;
  • Seek to return smaller houses to residential or other compatible uses;
  • Undertake accessibility initiatives to move toward an open campus;
  • Develop the campus landscape with attention to paving, planting, lighting, furnishing, signage, and control of service points. Consider ways to preserve and enhance campus green spaces and open areas, and promote the congregation and interaction of people in those spaces;
  • Look for opportunities to work with neighborhood groups to maintain and enhance the qualities of place and space that define the character and beauty of College Hill.

Move beyond College Hill

The framework offers the following guidelines for expansion:

  • Look to outlying sites for development of satellite campus facilities which cannot be accommodated appropriately on College Hill;
  • Maintain the commitment to a well-organized shuttle system to connect the core campus to new satellite locations;
  • Collaborate with government and other institutions to reclaim strategic downtown areas and waterfront sites for future shared growth;
  • Look for long-term development sites off College Hill that can be integrated into and contribute to the life of both the community and the University.


News Service Home  |  Top of File  |  e-Subscribe  |  Brown Home Page