Planning for Higher Education Journal

Space & Power in the Ivory Tower

Effective Space Management and Decision Making, What's the Problem and What's the Process?
Journal Cover
From Volume 41 Number 1 | October–December 2012
By Sandra M. Blanchette

The challenges of managing physical space in public higher education are often left unspoken and underresearched. This article is based on a multiple-case study of three urban universities; decision-making processes are examined with particular attention to who has institutional decision-making authority. Effective and efficient space management is important because the use of space on campus can contribute to research and practice by promoting innovation and collaboration, or it can isolate individuals and departments in silos. This study identifies three distinct challenges related to space management on campus: the quality of space, the location of space, and the quantity of space. The research findings accentuate the importance of (1) having a well-defined decision-making process, (2) having knowledgeable decision makers, (3) delegating decision-making authority, and (4) having accurate quantitative and qualitative data to inform decisions.

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