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"Rethinking the First UC Campus and Designing the Tenth at Merced"
February 10, 2000

Judy Chess


Good afternoon. It's actually pretty exciting to be here and to have been here for the entire day, listening to all of the dialogue. Because as we are maybe a third to half of the way into our process of our New Century Plan, I think well maybe it's not too soon to sort of figure out other ways to do things, and add some of these other concepts into how we've already been thinking.

I think the challenge of juxtaposing the plan of the past, the Hearst competition plans and sort of what's happened on Berkeley since with the idea of doing new planning for the new campus, the tenth campus, is one that really sets up a very interesting context for some of these concepts. And what Chris had talked about, being able to put it into these three guiding principles, I envy that, and I envy that as an organizing principle. I think that our Chancellor this morning, talked about the context here at Berkeley and just from that beginning to the sort of series of presentations that used images and examples of the Berkeley campus, both positive and maybe some not so positive, you know, really sort of shows the kind of environment within which we're working on the campus here when we're trying to do campus planning, and the real constituency of interest in what happens on the Berkeley campus.

So with that, I want to just lead people through the New Century Plan process a little bit, talk about some of our major challenges. And I think that since we are, from what I understand, a little bit challenged on time, I'll try to go through some of these things a little bit quickly, hoping that most people were here to hear the Chancellor's remarks in the beginning of the day because he really did describe the challenges that are facing us.

If had to pick one overarching theme, which is even more simple than having three, I would say that one of the things that we're dealing with here at Berkeley is really history. And not just history in the traditional sense, but really history of place, history of people, history of relationships, and the history of the academic culture here on the campus. I think that when I go through describing our planning process and then kind of try to sum up, it really will be that history and that legacy of responsibility that that gives us here on the campus, that really sets a very interesting and challenging context for our work.

When we started looking at doing the Berkeley Master Plan, many of you might know that the New Century Plan is a strategic facilities' master plan that's an outgrowth of the Chancellor's Ten Point SAFER Program. This is a kind of an interesting figure plane diagram on the right, all the buildings in red are those that have been identified as seismically poor or very poor in our recent survey in 1997. I would actually like to see the exercise of putting this in some of Stefanos Polyzoides' diagrams as well, because one can also look at those as opportunities, in terms of understanding what the facility condition is. You know, for some of those properties and those buildings that maybe represent some of the mistakes that we've made in the past, maybe these present opportunities to try to repair and make some corrections to those original plans. In any case, point five of the Safer Program was to do a strategic facilities' plan, the understanding being that if we're going to invest, I think it's somewhere around $1.2 billion, well over a billion dollars in seismic corrections over the next however many years, it really makes sense to be very, very wise, and very, very careful about how we do that investment. So as a genesis of sort of trying to do reasonable and smart capital investment, we're trying to take a broad look at our facilities.

The three main sort of areas of the New Century Plan are, really, trying to establish the context for the future. And we've had some very interesting discussions just today with different projections and 'what-if's,' and 'how do we know,' 'what are people going to be saying in another 100 years.' And I think that that's really something that's informing our... trying to get a handle on that has really been a key part of our challenge right now in this part of the process. To make sure that our buildings do support the academic program in whatever form that that program is going to take. Hopefully, we won't have to deal with a mile-long linear accelerator, but hopefully maybe we will. So being able to have a plan that can deal with the physical needs and the physical development. We want to address processes in this plan. There was a comment earlier in the day about the level of administrative bureaucracy, the role of administrative...how that doesn't necessarily enable the best planning or the best architect, from one of the previous speakers. We want to be clear in our process, we want to be clear in the values that we use to inform our decisions. And then, finally, when you look at the complexities of issues that affect the facilities on the Berkeley campus, we want to be strategic in how we do things. So we're looking at our plan as something that's not just about what to do, but also how to do it.

So we have assembled a team. Our Consulting Team represents a number of different areas of expertise. This isn't the plan that's being led by traditionally physical planning, but we're looking at, we have a partnership of consultants who are dealing with all these areas. And obviously, the integration of these, sort of through our decision-making process is going to be something that we hope will lead us into real good success in how we deal with our facilities' decisions.

But it's not without needing a vision. I mean, I think that one of the things that we're finding maybe a third of the way into the process is that it's really very, very essential for people to understand in the broadest sense what the vision is, and to be able to have something that's meaningful to the various constituencies on campus. So even though sometime like this we've heard about how difficult and yet impossible it is to sort of stick with our Master Plan, the idea of having something that reflects the values of the place is very important and is something that we're working on at this point in the process right now.

So we will be doing a physical plan. When we speak about our strategic facilities' master plan, it's important to understand that we will be doing a physical master plan, that we do understand the legacy of place. And this idea actually of the buildings supporting the academic life and activity that happens within these spaces, both spaces within the building and then also spaces between the buildings.

I think it was the Chancellor who recommended people go take a look at the Hearst Mining Building. This is a building that's undergoing very substantial renewal at this time. Coupled with the seismic improvement project is a significant program improvement project as well, and there will be state-of-the-art laboratories, as well as part of the building being restored to its original character. So this is an example of being able to look at a facility, make a decision about something that it is really a facility at a building that's essential to the campus and to the system as a whole, in terms of representing something very, very special for the University of California. And making the right kind of investment in that, that will enable the program, but also maintain the legacy of place. We have a number of projects like this. Maybe not all the buildings are of the historic caliber of the Hearst Mining Building, but we have many, many projects that require seismic retrofit, and how we do that and how we make decisions about the level of investment for each of those is really important and is really a key part of the strategic plan.

As well as our landscape and our open space, and I was glad that Chris said that things have improved in the Creek. And there's a rumor that there were fish in it a couple years ago, I think. And sometimes there are small programs that actually can have a large effect. And so here's another area, too, where it's really about being thoughtful and careful and strategic about where we place our investment. One of the things that our Master Plan will look at will be how we are doing things now, and things that can change really without a lot of administrative overhaul, without a whole lot of discussion in the broadest, broadest context. This is a value, you know, the Creek as an open space and as a resource is a value that's pretty solid and shared on the Berkeley campus.

These are the key questions and goals that the New Century Plan will do. And some of them are physical and some of them are not physical. I think that the theme of working with a community, or acknowledging a community relationship--Chris talked about that earlier, and, you know, clearly in Berkeley, we are neighbors, we are located in the middle of an urbanizing city, a densifying city, and it's something that we are hoping to develop a process whereby we can work things out in a bit of a less contentious relationship.

The method behind doing our plan is to look at things first from a regional perspective. And this draws an interesting parallel with the original Hearst plan, as well as the planning at Merced because looking at UC Berkeley as a player in the region, and sort of an active participant in terms of regional plan issues is something that we haven't zoomed back and done for quite a while. Then as we continue, after we sort of deal with the regional issues and understand those better, we will look more at the campus and the city. And we're starting now with a community outreach program where we have monthly meetings with the community at large, and talking about areas of concern, areas where we can work together, hopefully, identifying some areas where we want to work together and can affect some change.

This is an illustration, if you look at the map up at the top, that's the City's General Plan map that identifies the Berkeley campus as a gray blob. And, in fact, when we apply the same zoning categories to our land use on the campus, it really is much more integrated in terms of use, you know, with the City fabric than it appears on the gray blob. So what we would like to do is to get to some kind of a relationship where that's actually more integrated as well.

And then, again, this is an opportunity to look at our facilities. And there's probably been enough said about some of the buildings, this one included. It has been said that there are few things that people on the Berkeley campus agree on, and sort of figuring out something else to do with this one might be one of them. We want to be wise with our investment, we also want to be able to leverage our challenges into opportunities that maybe would go toward repairing some of the damage to the original plans and original places in the past.

What I'm going to do now is go quickly through some of these regional constructs. And the drawings are out in the foyer if people want to look at them more. But what we're doing at this point in the process of the Master Plan is our consultants have developed six regional constructs, which are different ways of modeling alternate futures for the campus. And there has been an exercise that has been useful in terms of trying to help the campus understand what might happen if one were to go in a particular direction. This is a diagram of the campus that places a very high emphasis on the future of virtual technology. And so it would say most growth that occurs off-campus actually occurs really off-campus, and that the campus in its physical state, in its core campus state, is maintained more as a steady state environment.

This next one is a diagram that models something like…we saw, I think, Professor Turner had a beautiful slide of Columbia, New York earlier on in the day. And this diagram would emulate that kind of an approach, that really says, 'Okay, the Berkeley campus is not over-dense, and that what we're needing to do is to densify even more and to keep people within this five-minute, ten-minute walk back and forth, to be able to really stimulate the academic interaction. So that's this kind of a model. It looks to putting all kinds of uses on campus, and would be representative of an aggressive rebuilding program.

This next one, which is entitled, 'University in the City,' models an environment where we have shared uses with the City of Berkeley. All this sort of cross-hatched area is area that's not necessarily owned by the campus, but is really recognized as a shared zone and an area where we would co-exist. There would be university supporting uses in the city proper, as well as university uses out in the city environs that would be publicly accessible. So that might be one of the ideas that one of the earlier speakers had, and the original plans on putting athletic facilities on the edge, putting the museum, the libraries on the edge, those kinds of things.

This next one focuses on regional opportunities and looks at the campus and its programmatic growth as something that might be wise to occur within the context of regional trends. And so what's happening in the rest of the region, where are development opportunities, where are environments where development is welcome? If the campus does need to develop, if it's over-built in the core campus, where might satellite facilities go? The red lines in the diagram represent some serious look at transportation infrastructure and access.

The campus now has property not only at the core, but in Richmond and in Albany. And so this diagram represents maximizing uses and developing clear visions for those campuses, as well as looking at all of the virtual opportunities that exist. The campus now operates new programs--UCDC and other places and various spots along the world, has many different kinds of relationships.

And then, finally, we've set up one of these scenarios, where we would identify sort of the best use of existing physical resources, where you really, really look very, very carefully at your asset base--you analyze the space, you do very careful review for all your seismic investment, and add on or replace buildings really only as a last resort. So this might imply different space adjustments, it might imply different programs being relocated.

So I want to kind of review a little bit these regional constructs. So what we're using them to do is to be able to provide the Berkeley community, which is very broad-based and a very wide constituency of interest, the opportunity to test different futures against these kinds of things. So what does this model mean for the academic mission? What does it mean for the delivery of education? What does this mean for being able to provide housing? What does one of the models mean for being able to retain historic resources on campus? What does this mean to Berkeley as a place, and so on?

So I think that what I want to do is just sum up by saying that, really, I think that even a third of the way into the process, the most challenging and most compelling part from our perspective, or at least from my perspective is the layer that an established culture associated with the campus places on all the decision-making around these issues, which is something that I think contrasts planning for a new campus with planning for a campus with a legacy such as UC Berkeley's. Everything from how individual academic programs are located, to the design details of a building, or the health of a specific tree outside a particular person's window has a great deal of passion and interest within the community. I think that this is capturing something that allows that expression of culture and also allows us to move forward with fixing our facilities and maintaining a campus is really the sort of rich, compelling professional challenge. So I look forward to hearing the comments from the panel and continuing to get some good information. Thank you.



Judy Chess is a Principal Planner for the Physical and Environmental Planning Unit in Capital Projects at the University of California, Berkeley. Her responsibilities include program planning for long-range planning, seismic improvement planning and coordinating the campus’ New Century Plan, a strategic vision for campus facilities. Previously she was responsible for project compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and coordinating project planning with local and state agency reviews. She has been a municipal planner for the City of Berkeley, where she worked on downtown development, zoning and community planning, and has worked in the private sector in Vancouver, Canada. She has also taught in the certificate program in Landscape Architecture at UC Extension. She holds M.A.s in City and Regional Planning and in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

 

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