Last week the team responsible for updating Emory’s Campus
Master Plan held a series of town hall meetings to brief the community
on the project and solicit input as it moves into its next phase.
In three meetings—one held May 4 in WHSCAB Auditorium and two more the
next day in the Math & Science Center and Goizueta Business School—the
master planners explained the defining issues that are shaping the Campus Plan
Update 2004 (CPU4) with a slide presentation by Jen Fabrick, director of campus
planning for Facilities Management.
Those issues include:
• Density. Emory’s land holdings total some 631 acres, roughly half
of which are forested areas. How densely should Emory build, and what are the
land use classifications for those 631 acres?
• Environment. The University has become a leader in “green” building,
and a number of groups on campus are advocating that Emory take a range of environmental
issues into consideration while planning its future growth.
• Community. One of the guiding principles of the 1998 master plan was that
Emory should strive to create a collegial environment that fosters intellectual
community, but at the moment the University has precious few physical spaces
that promote such community.
Fabrick walked attendees through a series of slides that addressed all three
issues. First, she compared Emory to other urban campuses such as George Washington,
Vanderbilt and Princeton universities in terms of numbers of students, on-campus
populations, total building square footage and numbers of parking spaces.
Examining what to build on campus naturally is part of the master plan, but perhaps
just as important, Fabrick said, is deciding what not to build and evaluating
Emory’s pedestrian and open spaces. There are pleasant examples—such
as the plaza beween Whitehead and the Dental School Building—and not so
pleasant ones, like the campus entrance to WHSCAB or Whitehead’s south
“Emory has a history of being thought of a suburban campus, but we’re
becoming an urban campus, and we need to look at the spaces between our buildings,” she
said. “Keep in mind that students on campus now never saw our [interior]
roadways before we did the open-space projects.”
Building attractive and inviting spaces leads directly into the
issue of community. Fabrick said Emory has few spaces that lend
themselves to spontaneous interaction. “People
aren’t able to share those little conversations around the coffee pot that
are part of our culture,” she said.
Part of the problem is indeed cultural; from extensive interviews conducted
about all facets of CPU4, the planners learned about the dearth of pleasant
meeting spaces, but they also heard people saying they simply didn’t
have time to stop and engage in collegial banter.
“Obviously, that’s a problem that’s beyond campus planning,” Fabrick
said, “but campus planning can contribute to the solution by offering
spaces for interaction to occur.”
Changes are in store once the University’s food service provider changes
from Aramark to Sodexho this summer. Sodexho has plans to create new meeting
places such as a coffee shop adjacent to White Hall near the Administration
Building, and Fabrick said the company even has offered to help with the capital
costs of such a project. Other amenities are planned for Woodruff Library,
the Dobbs Center and Turman Residential Center.
Improvements to Emory Village will be another important step. Fabrick said
the University has proposed changes to the Alliance to Improve Emory Village’s
plan to install a traffic roundabout in the village’s main intersection.
In the new scheme, only the public thoroughfares—both sides of N. Decatur
and Oxford roads—will feed into the roundabout. Dowman Drive
would be turned into a single-direction, entrance-only gate to the University,
complete with the bricked roadways and landscaping appropriate for Emory’s
figurative front door, and “curb cuts” will be made from the B.
Jones parking lot to N. Oxford and from Fishburne Parking Deck to N. Decatur
to allow people to exit the campus.
Capital changes like these lead back to environmental concerns. Fabrick said
Emory’s unused acreage is being mapped under four classifications:
• Preserved, which means spaces basically sacrosanct from development, such
• Conserved, or spaces that presently are set aside but could be developed
in the future.
• Managed, which are spaces currently open but on which development is planned.
• Restricted, which means spaces where development is restricted by law,
such as those lying in stream buffers or floodplains.
Fabrick said the CPU4 team has spent the spring talking to various constituencies
and gathering information. This summer it will assimilate that information into
a draft plan; to be presented to the community in a series of prominent town
halls in August and September. The completed master plan update will be presented
to the Board of Trustees for approval in November, she said.
Anyone wishing to learn more about CPU4 can visit the project’s website
emory.edu/campusplan/. Project manager David Kalin said the site soon will
feature a community discussion area similar to the one set up during last fall’s
development of Emory’s vision statement. In the meantime, questions and
comments can be sent to email@example.com.