Merit - Excellence in Planning for an Existing Campus

University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Campus Plan
University of Minnesota - University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Campus Plan
Jury Comments
“. . . big undertaking influenced by major city and natural geographic features . . . robust engagement and analysis process . . . appreciate the vision of a strong civic identity through public spaces . . . porous and engaging edges . . .”


    • Site – 1,292 acres
    • The campus encompasses 23 million square feet of development across three locations.
    • All campus buildings were considered for future renovation and development.
    • Multi-modal mobility connects West Bank, East Bank, and St. Paul.
    • The plan emphasizes equitable access and human-powered connectivity.
    • Campus edge improvements complement and invite the community.
    • Accessibility improvements help mitigate grade change on campus.


The broader objectives of the University of Minnesota’s systemwide strategic plan guided the Twin Cities Campus Plan. The campus plan recommendations align with the strategic plan through 10 “Big Ideas” that emerged through consultation: 1) create a more inclusive campus; 2) enrich the student experience; 3) make campus easier to navigate by prioritizing accessibility and multi-modal connectivity; 4) support patient care and the provider experience in the health sciences; 5) promote innovation through partnerships; 6) engage with the Mississippi River; 7) align future development with the public realm; 8) reinvest in the campus core; 9) enhance financial resiliency; and 10) use land and resources sustainably.

Development of the campus plan coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the planning process relied almost exclusively on digital engagement techniques. A custom website broadened consultation, distributed progress reports and information, and solicited feedback on various planning issues and opportunities. Nine thousand students, faculty, and staff received invitations to participate in an online survey, and through the website, invitations extended to the broader community, including neighborhoods and business associations. The survey results informed the plan’s analysis, visioning, and recommendations.

The West Bank vision provides a new facility focused on student inclusion, collaboration, and engagement while improving accessibility and mobility. The vision for East Bank builds on its iconic buildings and landscapes. It calls for renewal and reinvestment to create a more inclusive campus, enhance the student experience, engage the Mississippi River, and improve accessibility while addressing deferred maintenance and operational issues. Restoration of the city grid provides the context for renewing the health sciences and undergraduate housing. It also aligns plans for the campus with private sector and partnership developments in the surrounding area. The vision for St. Paul acknowledges the importance of open space structure, landscape, and agricultural fields to the character and mission. It calls for a renewed core, provides direction for university and private sector partnerships focused on bioengineering, and includes a plan for the next generation of affordable graduate and family housing. The vision preserves agricultural lands and natural systems, supporting research, sustainability, and resiliency.

Project Team

Sasaki – Greg Havens; Romil Sheth; Kartiki Sharma