Future plans for the University’s physical environment
9 December 2020
Uppsala University’s Vice-Chancellor has approved the plan that will provide the guiding principles for the University’s future spatial structure and physical expression for the coming decades: Development Plan 2050. The plan has been developed through a broad dialogue with both internal and external stakeholders intended to spur development of a cohesive knowledge environment and increased collaboration.
Well-functioning work and teaching environments support education and research. To achieve its ambitious goals, the University’s physical development requires a long-term plan. The purpose of the Development Plan 2050 project has been to formulate guiding principles for the University’s future spatial structure and physical expression. The plan is an important framework for the coming decades and will provide the guiding principles for the premises provision plans that are formulated every three years.
Meant as guidance
Currently, Uppsala University has at its disposal close to 400,000 square metres in Uppsala and Visby. Development Plan 2050 provides guiding principles and the foundation for Uppsala University’s development and enables external collaborations in both cities and their surroundings. The University’s activities and facilities impact its surroundings, while its surroundings impact the University.
“The lot for the Segerstedt Building was already reserved for future use in the 1800s, a responsibility that we must also exhibit in our own era. In Development Plan 2050, we look beyond the immediate future,” says Uppsala University Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson. “Many people, even outside the University, have enthusiastically participated in the work of producing this plan, which provides guidance for the University’s continued development. The physical environment and interaction with the cities of Uppsala and Visby are crucial for enabling Uppsala University to be a meeting place for high-quality research and education and a creative hub for both of these regions.”
Based on four goals
Development Plan 2050 expresses a vision, supported by four specific goals, that provides the foundation for Uppsala University’s future planning. These goals include such aspects as moving toward a cohesive knowledge environment and increased collaboration, sustainability, integration with the city, and increased presence and visibility. Several overarching strategies are described for achieving these goals.
The project addressed several important questions:
- How can the University area be developed into a lively, open and welcoming environment that is accessible and used for much of the day?
- How can the University’s various areas be linked to facilitate the movement of students and staff within and between its different parts?
- How can the University’s presence and visibility be improved in the city centre?
- How can locations for future expansions and investments in infrastructure be secured?
- How can the University use its development to promote and take responsibility for ecological, economic and social sustainability?
The University has very good potential for continued growth in Uppsala.
“In the course of working with Development Plan 2050, clear paths forward emerged showing the potential for the University’s future sustainable growth in Uppsala,” says Johan Tysk, vice-rector for the Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology and chair of the steering committee. “We want to see a development towards a cohesive University area integrated with its urban setting rather than multiple campuses. This means developing urban corridors and closer links among the University’s activities and to the activities of other organisations and groups.”
The potential to grow in Visby is somewhat more limited.
“But developing the area around the port could accommodate additional University activities.”
An important part of the planning work, which began in 2018, has involved both internal and external collaboration. The development plan has evolved in dialogue with and in wide-ranging collaboration with many staff and students from the University’s various organisations and with important external stakeholders.
“One part of this effort has involved inviting internal and external groups to participate in seminars and workshops to discuss mutual questions we will be facing in the future. We have had very fruitful and inspiring meetings that have revealed a wide range of different perspectives,” says Annika Sundås Larsson, deputy director of building and estate services at Uppsala University and the lead project manager.
An expression of ambitions
Development Plan 2050 should be viewed as an overt declaration of what the University wants in its future physical development and be seen as an expression of the University’s ambitions and hopes for the built environment.
“In the process of formulating Development Plan 2050, several ideas have emerged, and we have identified many possible projects. Hopefully, we can build on the enthusiasm that we have seen so far,” says Tysk. “And the extent to which the different parts of the plan can be achieved depends on the organisation’s needs and potential, the relevant project’s content, schedule and budget, and the physical and planning circumstances that exist.”