Honor - SCUP Excellence in Planning for an Existing Campus

Emory University

Emory University Framework Plan
Emory University - Emory University Framework Plan
Jury Comments
“comprehensive nature of analysis folds into the graphics, presentation, and process . . . This plan shows how a planning process should work . . . very clear process . . . I’ll be watching this one”


    • Site – 631 acres
    • The scope elements include: land use, urban design, academic planning, transportation and mobility, landscape and open space, sustainability and infrastructure, and historic preservation.
    • The comprehensive data collection and analysis phase
      of the project established the strong foundation onto
      which the creative planning was built.
    • The plan focuses not only on planning for new capital
      development, but also on maximizing utilization of existing resources to meet long-term needs.
    • The plan locates new residential and academic facilities in a more integrated way to allow for vibrant mixed-use districts with 24-7 vitality.


Emory is a relatively decentralized institution, yet the new strategic plan calls for a more integrated “One Emory.” The plan provides a road map to guide the institution’s growth across regional Atlanta, including Emory’s primary Druid Hills campus, its Oxford College undergraduate liberal arts campus, a new health science campus, and its Midtown Atlanta landholdings. The Framework Plan approach required the team to develop a culture of planning from the ground up. This meant facilitating conversations to understand individual unit needs, ensuring each entity felt heard and understood. Once these individual needs were documented, opportunities of mutual interest and overlap were identified and presented back to thematically-organized focus groups. Priorities were identified, with projects meeting multiple strategic initiatives rising to the top of the capital plan. One example of this integrated planning involves the Business School and the Law School. Both units had space needs, and Law had a failing building. Many of the future space needs were common to both units. Rather than construct two new facilities/additions, the Framework Plan designates a shared facility that meets each school’s programmatic objectives but in an integrative and more cost-effective manner. This approach also required changes to university policy, since, up to this point, units charged each other to share space.

Both of Emory’s two existing campuses lie outside of Atlanta’s urban core, yet the university seeks to engage more
with the city. Planning for Emory’s new health science campus considered how metropolitan Atlanta would access the campus and addressed the development of a place to support the patient experience. For Emory’s Midtown properties, the plan considers functions that will draw in community members, including a resiliency center focused on outreach and education. For the Druid Hills campus, the Framework Plan designates specific strategies for connecting to Atlanta’s Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) system to improve connectivity between the campus and the city.

The Framework Plan tackles improvements to the student experience, including increasing undergraduate housing from 64% to 80-85%, providing housing for 1,500 graduate students where none exists today, designating spaces for Emory’s various cultural affinity groups, and developing a comprehensive approach to wellness including spaces for meditation, spirituality, mental health, lactation rooms, and recreation.

Project Team

Sasaki; RMF Engineering; Kimley-Horn; Walker Consultants; Building Conservation Associates; Pattern R&D