Campus Master Plan

A blimming space odyssey.

University of Otago Campus Master Plan
A vision for the future

The Campus Master Plan sets out strategies for the future development over a 25-year-period of the University campuses at Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington.


### ODT Online Tue, 18 May 2010
Enthusiasm for university vision
By Allison Rudd
A plan detailing how the University of Otago might improve its campuses and expand over the next 25 years received an enthusiastic and positive response when it was launched yesterday.

Need to tidy ‘ghetto’
Vast amount of space needed
Leith could become city amenity

Written by an international team of consultants following a year of consultation, the Campus Master Plan was Otago’s chance to have an “outstanding campus”, vice-chancellor Prof Sir David Skegg told an audience of about 150 invited guests.
Read more



### ODT Online Mon, 17 May 2010
Student area a ‘ghetto’: report
A report on the future of the University of Otago’s Dunedin campus considers the student housing around the university to have lent a “ghetto” feel to the neighbourhoods, says Vice-chancellor Prof Sir David Skegg. Writing on today’s ODT opinion page, Prof Skegg introduces the Campus Master Plan, to be unveiled this afternoon with the release of the 195-page “Options for Future Campus Development” report, compiled by international consultants.

“… the authors were shocked by the degradation of the residential areas surrounding the university,” writes Prof Skegg. “The squalid nature of many properties and the accumulation of rubbish are considered to have generated a ‘ghetto’ feel …”

The report envisages what the student quarter might look like in 20 to 25 years’ time.
Read more


### ODT Online Mon, 17 May 2010
Opinion: University plan outlines ambitious outlook
By David Skegg
A University of Otago “campus master plan”, which looks 20-25 years into the future, is released this afternoon. David Skegg outlines the scope of the report and highlights some of the issues it raises.

The university commissioned an international consulting firm (DEGW) to lead a major planning exercise. The consultants brought extensive experience of campus planning and design in many parts of the world. Their brief was to produce a plan which can guide the development of our campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch, and Wellington over the next 20 or 25 years. The consultants worked in conjunction with other firms specialising in matters such as sustainability and pedestrian movement.

Read more

Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Politics, Project management, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

34 responses to “Campus Master Plan

  1. James

    From the graphic, it appears that the old Interim Chemistry (now ITS) building over the Leith is one of the suggested removals.

    • Elizabeth

      ### May 17, 2010 – 6:43pm
      Otago University release options for future development
      The University of Otago released its options for future development, in the organisation’s first master plan for more than 30 years. Representatives of the University, the Dunedin City Council, and wider community were on hand to hear the organisation’s grand vision.


      ### Mon, 17 May 2010 11:47a.m.
      ‘Ghetto’ student flats need upgrade: Vice-Chancellor
      Student housing around Otago University feels like a “ghetto”, while several university buildings should be demolished and replaced, a campus planning report says. In an opinion piece in the Otago Daily Times today, the university’s vice-chancellor, Sir David Skegg, said a campus master plan would be released this afternoon to “guide the development” of the university’s campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington over the next 20 years. The report identified three main issues at the Dunedin campus, being one-way streets in North Dunedin, the “ugly” Water of Leith and degraded housing surrounding the university.
      Read more + Comments


      ### Updated at 7:04pm on 17 May 2010
      $1b campus changes proposed by Otago university
      More than $1 billion worth of changes to the University of Otago’s campus is proposed over the next 20 years. The university commissioned a master plan for the campus to deal with its expanding student intake and the resultant pressure on existing facilities. The plan recommends demolishing several university buildings and replacing with new ones, including new staff and student accommodation. The university says its facilities are already under-resourced and predicts its intake will expand so much it will require an extra 100,000 square metres of space in Dunedin alone. The plan also recommends changing one-way traffic streets to a two-way flow and improve flood controls on the Water of Leith.
      RNZ Link

  2. janet

    Yeah, and the stadium received positive response at first.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 19 May 2010
      Highway change ‘inconceivable’ in short term
      By Allison Rudd
      Reconfiguring or removing North Dunedin’s one-way state highway system is “inconceivable in the short term”, regional highways manager Bruce Richards says. In its campus master plan released on Monday outlining possible developments for the next 25 years, the university has recommended removing the state highway S-bend just north of Dunedin Hospital and re-creating the city’s original straight-line road arrangement.

      The Dunedin City Council in its transportation strategy of about five years ago suggested the one-way highways revert to two-way.

      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Wed, 19 May 2010
        Editorial: Town and gown
        Seven years ago, the University of Otago published some statistics that indicated this dominant economic force would soon be making a $1 billion a year contribution in its broadest sense to the Dunedin economy. There cannot be doubt today that the city’s cultural, sporting, shopping and culinary landscapes would wither were it not for the university and, to a lesser extent, the polytechnic and college of education. But it is not one-way traffic. Most importantly, the city bears the burden of servicing a swathe of north-end land and buildings free from general rates.
        Read more

        Need to expand northern campuses
        Controversial bridge not in plan


        Local resident Peter Entwisle has produced an interesting commentary on the Campus Master Plan, ‘A laudable campus effort but much could go wrong’, published on the ODT Opinion page today (page 13), but this isn’t weblinked.

        It’s a continuing irritation that ODT hasn’t yet solved how to manage the relationship with this writer of opinion (and others) for the content to be freely available online. What is the point of opinion if you can’t share the blessed ‘news/ramblings/ideas/views’ in the online world, for heavens sake.

        [I buy the ODT print edition daily, not by subscription but by happy verbal encounter with local retailers in the main street – it’s that inner city village thing, of popping out to do the messages! Grabbing a real newspaper! But I want to weblink to discursive published opinion too, to spread the word and encourage spirited dialogue. This is the Dark Ages still, sealed by opinion writers, their IP and or ‘piece’ earnings. What gives, ODT. Yes I’m missing something here.]

        Peter Entwisle says, rightly:
        “Dunedin would certainly benefit from growth and has plenty of room to accommodate it. But it shouldn’t all come from the university. It needs another string to its bow.”

        My own thoughts extend to “more” strings to the bow, not just one other. This was made plain, briefly, in my written and oral submissions to the Dunedin City Draft Annual Plan 2010/11 hearings recently.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Mon, 7 Jun 2010
          Opinion: Tale of two strategies
          By Peter Dowden
          Peter Dowden looks afresh at the model proposed by the University of Otago’s new master plan and wonders if it is not, in fact, a retrograde step. Visit the foyer called “The Link”* at the University of Otago and you’ll see exhibited there a collection of “master plans” from throughout the ages, none of which were ever fully implemented… Viewing the latest master plan, alongside all the others in the same foyer, it is hard to escape the cynical assumption that the present plan will never be implemented either.

          Dunedin has always been and should always remain New Zealand’s premier university city. The present master plan could create merely a “city with a university”.

          Read more

          -Peter Dowden is a Warrington resident.

        • Elizabeth

          The potential failures of the Campus Master Plan stack up, and so do the costs…

          ### ODT Online Thu, 10 Jun 2010
          University’s master plan impacts on flood scheme
          By Rebecca Fox
          The University of Otago’s master plan is forcing the Otago Regional Council to look at alternative approaches to its Leith-Lindsay flood protection scheme.

          Any changes to scheme works arising from the master plan might require detailed investigations and possibly new resource consents. “This has cost implications for flood mitigation works which should not necessarily be borne by the Leith-Lindsay flood protection scheme.”
          -Gavin Palmer, Otago Regional Council

          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Sat, 26 Jun 2010
          Gardens Tavern fetches $1.75m
          By Hamish McNeilly
          Last drinks at the Gardens Tavern came at a cost – with the University of Otago confirming the price it paid for the Castle St pub. Yesterday, the university took possession of the popular student watering hole, and confirmed it paid $1.75 million excluding GST for the property. The tavern was put on the market earlier this year, and had a valuation of $1.025 million.

          The tavern was likely to be turned into a student study centre, which would help alleviate pressure on the central library.
          -John Patrick, University of Otago

          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 28 Oct 2010
          Master plan waits a while
          By Allison Rudd
          It could be several months yet before the University of Otago considers implementing its campus master plan. The 195-page plan, written over a year by a team of international consultants, was released with much fanfare in May. It presented a vision for development at the Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington campuses over the next 25 years.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          The saga of the dreadful Campus Master Plan continues. The inherent contradictions keep on coming.

          ### ODT Online Thu, 17 Nov 2011
          University silent over cost of plan
          By Matthew Haggart
          The University of Otago is remaining tight-lipped over how much it spent to develop a campus master plan outlining a 25-year vision of development for the city’s landmark tertiary institution. University chief operating officer John Patrick spoke to a packed Archway Lecture Theatre at a public presentation yesterday to outline the vision of future campus developments.

          “This is not a list of projects we’re going to do. It is a reference document for the next 25 years.” An upgrade to revitalise the Union lawn area is to start this month. A Union building upgrade is the first stage of a “reinvention” strategy to “create a new social campus heart…We’re looking at a possible retail area through here and there is even talk of a tavern.”

          Read more

  3. Stu

    Do landlords of properties in the ghetto pay residential rates or commercial rates?

    Do residential colleges (not the University itself) pay commercial or residential rates?

  4. James

    Stu — Rates are paid on ‘use’ I think, so flats are residential.
    Halls of residence appear to receive the same treatment as university proper.
    Curiously, despite this, the university still pays more than 1% of the city’s annual rates take, as it appears to thoroughly overpay for its drainage, relative to actual use I suspect.

  5. James

    Oh, incidentally, I’ll have to double check my figures tonight, but it looks like the rates exemption on the university costs ratepayers <$40/year. It's not chump change, but it's also not costing us a lot less than something else, presumably for a greater benefit.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter Entwisle has kindly supplied his opinion piece published in Wednesday’s ODT:

      18 May 2010
      The Campus Vision
      By Peter Entwisle

      At the pubic launch of the new vision for the university’s campus, the Vice Chancellor Professor Sir David Skegg said to me he thought it was probably good for at least six of my articles. There’s plenty there to discuss but at this stage an overview is needed and for that just one will do.

      It is only a vision. It isn’t a policy let alone a plan. But it has clear drivers, principles and objectives and these are germane to its merit – or lack of it. Some people will cheer at anything new especially with a big price attached – so long as they aren’t paying it. But you can spend lots of money and produce only a very big mess, so it pays to look at such proposals carefully.

      On balance I find this one has some real promise although there’s at least one dubious big assumption behind it and a serious obstacle to realising one of its most cherished aims. Another big aim will need persuading an outside body to re-think its plans. Beyond that there’s plenty of in it which sounds acceptable or better to me, in fact full of promise. But with big schemes like this the devil is in the detail and much could go wrong in the doing.

      First, the really dubious assumption. The whole scheme is premised on growth – more students and staff which the 195 page accompanying book describes as “inevitable” (p.8(2)). It isn’t and it’s questionable whether it’s desirable for the university or the city. In its aim to achieve research and teaching excellence the university should remember that most of the best universities in the world are a good deal smaller than Otago is now.

      The city, or at least too many of our civic leaders, are wedded to the assumption the growth of the university is good for Dunedin. It isn’t beyond a certain point – the point where it starts to lead to overcrowding and volumetric antisocial behaviour and starts degrading the built environment.

      Dunedin would certainly benefit from growth and has plenty of room to accommodate it. But it shouldn’t all come from the university. It needs another string to its bow. Our leaders should concentrate on finding it.

      Having said that this vision does convincingly show the possibility of accommodating more numbers without significantly enlarging the present footprint of faculty buildings, or soaring out of scale. I find that positive and endorse the principle that the campus should remain compact. But it leads to the difficult issue.

      Significant space can be gained by eliminating the present “S” bends in the one-way system. The vision would like to do that and go back to two-way flows, to calm the speed of the traffic. The authors know this is problematic and admit they aren’t traffic engineers. The eminently charming Chris Alcock, who so ably presented the vision, slightly disingenuously said to me that King Street could be re-opened to through traffic.

      I like the space gain from getting rid of the bends and I like the proposed partial reinstatement of Kettle’s grid, the original street plan. But there’s a considerable difficulty.

      When the city created the “S” bends it gave up one of the few, through north/south corridors to the university, Castle Street. There’s no suggestion of getting that back. King Street is not a through corridor. This proposal means giving up one more so the traffic now on two streets would be confined to one. That would cut the campus with a seething python of traffic and seriously impede other citizens and commerce.

      Creating true, new bypasses either means taking State Highway 88 under Mount Cargill, for perhaps a billion dollars, literally. Or building the old projected one from Kaikorai Valley Road on a viaduct over Leith Valley to the north motorway, which might only be $150 or $200 million. Neither would qualify for national funding.

      The alternative is to revert to an earlier mooted solution: build shallow cut and cover tunnels for through traffic along the lines of the “S” bends and then implement the vision’s plan on top.

      This would not cost nothing but would be much less than the alternatives. It probably wouldn’t qualify for much national funding either. So the university might like to think about ways of assisting the city and the region to pay for it. There would still be problems with traffic trying to access Port Chalmers. But the city faces those anyway. Something like the cut and cover tunnels are needed to make this important aspect of the vision work.

      Another key element is the treatment of the Leith and again I’m broadly sympathetic to the vision. The regional council has plans already made and in the making and it suggests re-visiting those. I agree and would add that in particular the ones for the stretch between St David and Union Streets stand in serious need of revision. As presently conceived they are going to spoil the historic setting of an internationally significant group of heritage buildings – the clocktower complex.

      The vision also calls for some substantial demolitions. I was not the person at the launch who questioned the need for that, perhaps because among those proposed are some buildings I think the campus would be much better off without.

      I have never been opposed to demolition in principle. You need to ask what is being demolished, why, and what is the replacement. The removal of Science 2, the Adams Building and the Interim Science building over the Leith, would delight me. They are aesthetic and functional bad news. So long as their replacements are improvements I shall applaud.

      One of my greatest concerns has been that expansion would mean further encroachment on our heritage housing stock, a significant part of what makes the north end and Dunedin attractive and internationally distinctive, architecturally. And here the vision is most encouraging.

      It shares my values, would largely retain, restore and replace inferior things with better. (Please get rid of some of those 1960s concrete block eggboxes.) I think it puts too much blame on landlords for poor maintenance – I am one and know how burdensome this is. I don’t endorse building replacements in contemporary architectural language and tower blocks would become real ghettos – or rather vertical slums. But the main thrust of this part is excellent – though open to failure in the execution.

      There is a great deal more to comment on – including things more specifically to do with the arts. But these are my overall impressions. I applaud the effort and give it two, cautious cheers.

  6. Stu

    A development plan for the University of Otago that is based on “inevitable” growth is doomed to failure and this has been self-evident since about 1999 or so when Fogelberg tried to push through massive expansion, leading to a near-total shutdown in capital funding that lasted 3 years and stifled growth rather than drove it.

    To be realistic such growth can only come by attracting larger numbers of overseas students, predominately Asian, who will be here for their degrees (accelerated to 2.5 years) and off, leaving no lasting benefit to the city.

    For Dunedin, we need to attract and retain talent, not encourage short-term students who do not stay and do not benefit the city beyond their normal consumer lifestyles.

  7. Stu

    With tongue firmly in cheek, I would suggest that bulldozing the Botanic Gardens and running State Highway 1 through there, round the back of Logan Park to join SH88, would form an equally effective bypass.

    • Elizabeth

      Stu, this could mean a proper ‘gyratory’ instead of the proposed stadium roundabout on the harbour arterial~!!!

      I’m in deep trouble because on reading your suggestion this morning it’s not like it’s silly – and with a bit of additional work slicing through some of Pine Hill area on a re-route of the northern SH1, well bingo.

  8. Stu

    “Stu, this could mean a proper ‘gyratory’ instead of the proposed stadium roundabout on the harbour arterial~!!!”

    My little bird says: “Hold that thought. Phase 2.”

  9. James

    Actually, if they run it round the Leith along Leith Street and under the Peninsula, seems pretty straightforward. Not much impact on the Gardens, but might be messy for Logan Park.

  10. James

    Sorry, by Leith, I mean Duke Street. Hell, it could even link up with the Lovelock realignment on the southern portal…

  11. James

    If I was more of a conspiracy theorist, I’d start to wonder if the reason why the university bought Gardies was so that could trade that land for the S-bends…

  12. Stu

    Hmmm. Off Pine Hill Road onto George St to Dundas St, straight down Dundas, cut through Logan Park, Butts Road, meet SH88 at the new roundabout. Align SH88/SH1 to follow the rail corridor to Strathallan St and meet the motorway. Move the shunting yards to Green Island.

    All you isolate that way is Logan Park High School and Caledonian Ground, but that’s fine.

    • Elizabeth

      Having been at the mercy of ‘safety curves for trucks’ where SH1 is concerned, am thinking the brainstorming has to voyage into the grand seagull view to see how ‘sweep’ works for heavy traffic only coming into/from the city in this northern city sector via SH1. There are structural gradient and geomorphology issues – so I’m not seeing ‘early’ adherence to the existing street grid in the Gardens/campus area stretch until the the main force of traffic flow is dealt with.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Sat, 29 May 2010
        Opinion: Your Town: Dunedin
        Whose vision, values, buy-in, dialogue?
        By Chirpbird
        In his opinion piece Vision, values, buy-in, dialogue (27 May 2010) Chris Skellet compares the Dunedin City Council to the University of Otago (more or less, if I can find any shred of specific meaning through his abstractions, generalisations, unwarranted assumptions and pointless rhetoric). A city council is not a university and it cannot legally plan like a university.
        Read more


        ### ODT Online Thu, 27/05/2010 – 2:22pm.
        Comment by ej kerr on Residents and communities of interest
        Chris Skellett makes a plea for effective community leadership. He says “it requires a clear strategic vision, an explicitly stated set of operational values, a strong sense of buy-in and clear communication with the stakeholders (i.e. the ratepayers)”.

        Ratepayers are an important sub-group of the people that community leaders are responsible to.
        Read more

  13. Anonymous

    It would be better titled “Campus Disaster Plan”. Don’t worry about it, it will be forgotten inside 5 years, has already claimed its first victim. The University will be lucky to escape the crippling financial cost of replacing the 10 or so “concrete cancer”-riddled buildings that have to be replaced. Perhaps a new VC will change the semi-bullying attitude that the University of Otago has adopted in the last 10 years. People were warning as long ago as 1999 that projected growth rates were not sustainable.

    • Elizabeth

      I do feel reassured by your comment in sum, Anonymous! If not a little worried for the future of the ‘industry’ at Otago. More water to flow under the old bridges, with a dash of fatal rips for unsuspecting surfers.

  14. Anonymous

    Gardens Tavern still untouched.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 18 Nov 2010
      No decision yet on use for former tavern
      By Allison Rudd
      Almost five months since it closed, the Gardens Tavern building remains empty and its new owner, the University of Otago, has not decided what it will do with the property. The 2080sq m site at the north end of Castle St, near the Dunedin Botanic Garden, has a two-storeyed brick building, a fenced beer garden and a car park.
      Read more

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    A tavern! What a great idea! Students have such a miserable time at OU with never a welcoming hostelry within coo-ee where they might enjoy a shandy with their chums.
    Revitalising the Union Lawn is a courageous much-needed advance. Who would want us to find ourselves 25 years hence facing a languid lawn?

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    Why is it always more desirable to spend on edifices than on the people who make things happen? Why tart up the real estate and skimp on salaries?
    Why endlessly put people through surveys and examinations only to institute another change in structure of whatever it is – naughty teens’ care facilities, criteria for “elective” i.e. necessary for productive pain-free life surgery, child care, you name it – demolishing whatever is doing the job now and making up another newly-named, newly bureaucratised, newly carpeted and logo’d outfit insteading of listening to the people doing the work and the people experiencing their work – or experiencing the faults in the system – and fixing those shortcomings one by one. Targetting the already identifiable issues, instead of taking the baby-bathwater approach in the expectation that they will end up with a better baby and bathwater that doesn’t splash onto the floor.

  17. Elizabeth

    On campus – Jinty’s brainwashed climate change friends, lovely.

    ### Thu, August 6, 2015
    Student flats converted into Centre for Sustainability
    Local research into sustainability is being expanded, with the opening of a new university centre. Four Castle Street flats have been converted into a new premises for the university’s Centre for Sustainability. It’s the culmination of almost two years of hard work, and it’s set to enable more research than ever before.
    Ch39 Link

    39 Dunedin Television Published on Aug 5, 2015
    Student flats converted into Centre for Sustainability

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