Planning for Higher Education Journal

Inheritance and Style: Planning Design at Macquarie University

Journal Cover
From Volume 11 Number 2 | Winter 1983
By Wally V. Abraham

Taken as a Case Study, Macquarie University in New South Wales, Australia, demonstrates a unique and successful physical planning process. As a new "instant" university founded in 1967, Macquarie University's development was dominated by a need to grow at a rate of 1,000 new students each year for a decade. The need for such growth also required a way of accommodating planning with an imperfect knowledge of the future. Thered are two main theoretical apporaches to this problem which were implemented at Macquarie. The first approach is the "unitary approach" which involves long range "master planning" that project a physical form to the future without precise knowledge of future conditions. Focus is on product. The second approach is the "adaptive approach" which emphasizes policies, accepts growth, and provided flexibility for experiment and unpredicable change. Focus is on process. In balancing these two approaches, certain genral ideas boprrowed from Roman city building, Victorian-Medieval colleges, and 20th century new towns were used to give coherence to the design while leaving room for interpretation through flexible, indeterminnate policies.

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