Planning Principles

Review of Planning Documents & Principles

Draft Comprehensive Master Plan, January 1997: initiated by then president Mortimer in 1989 as a framework for future development of campus. An internal university document developed by Facilities and Master Planning Department and based on "Scheme E-Refined" plan. Scheme E-Refined (Campus Conceptual Plan) was approved by the WWU BOT in June 1992 for the state required environmental review process which included the following:

  1. Draft Environmental Impact Statement, April 1993: considered the environmental impacts of "Scheme E-Refined" (Campus Conceptual Plan)
  2. Final Environmental Impact Statement, July 1993: included public feedback, corrections, additional information and a summary of the proposal and alternatives
    1. Addendum #1, November 1996: addressed revisions made to "Scheme E-Refined" Conceptual Plan (and approved by the BOT in August of 1996)
    2. Addendum #2, December 2000: issued pending approval of the IMP, a document required by the City Municipal Code for institutional development. Addendum #2 addressed campus plan changes outlined in the Draft IMP. The impact of those changes was deemed non-significant

City of Bellingham Neighborhood Plans: Neighborhood plans are separate land use plans that are components of the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan. The plans address neighborhood character, open space, land use, etc. for the city's 23 neighborhoods. In accordance with the 1991 amendments to the Growth Management Act, state agencies such as Western are required to comply with local comprehensive plans and development regulations.

WWU Institutional Master Plan: a long range development plan jointly developed and agreed to by the City and Western in accordance with the Western Washington University Neighborhood Plan and Section 20.40 of the Bellingham Land Use Development Ordinance.

For ease of use, the following planning principles and character principles and patterns have been excerpted from relevant planning documents. These principles and patterns apply to the campus as a whole and provide a framework for any development that occurs on campus.

Guiding Principles (from the Draft Comprehensive Campus Master Plan, January 1997)

The following administrative principles shown below will guide future campus development:

  1. The University Physical Master Plan reflects the University's strategic objectives in setting forth priorities in building and environmental projects
  2. The preservation of the history and values inherent in the campus environment serves as the context for future growth and development of the University's campus
  3. Provide convenient and safe access to and through the campus for the University's guests, faculty, staff and students
  4. Future growth of the University occurs predominantly to the south
  5. The central part of campus serves as the "academic core" of the University
  6. The northern part of campus is primarily residential in nature

Overarching Principles and Themes from the Western Washington University Institutional Master Plan, 2001

  • Optimize use of land while maintaining character
  • Maximize alternative transportation while accommodating parking
  • Optimize transitions, blending, and buffering to sustain adjacent neighborhoods
  • Optimize communication between Western, the City and adjacent neighborhood associations

Primary Character Principles Unique to Campus from the WWU Character Study Charrette Summary, January, 2000:

Pedestrian Focused

  • People dominance
  • Controlled vehicular traffic
  • Bicycle friendly

Continuity of People Flow

  • Linear
  • Valley - spatial flow
  • Like a stream
  • Has diversity
  • Stepped progression

Close Natural/People & Built Relationship

  • Strong connections and juxtapositions
  • Omnipresent natural features
  • Dramatic and dynamic balance
  • Natural "walls" contain the place

"Village" - Intimacy/Breakdown of Scale

  • Primary and secondary open spaces
  • "Eddies"
  • Village feel
  • Setting for art

Protected Sanctuary

  • Ease of way finding
  • Sense of edges
  • Comfortable
  • Friendly
  • Caring

Visual Portals

  • Windows out
  • Transparency
  • Linkages with mountains, water, vegetation
  • Linkages with neighborhoods

Windows to the Past

  • Evolution of campus expressed
  • Sequence of time

Sense of a Community

  • Community of scholars
  • Recreation/athletics
  • Common ground of learning
  • Interconnected
  • Intellectually charged

Character Patterns to be Reinforced:

  1. Buildings contribute to and define adjacent spaces/plazas
  2. Clear building "front door" and presence on public space
  3. Juxtaposition of buildings next to nature
  4. Housing and academic proximity with integration of nature
  5. Buildings aligned along key organizing lines
  6. Orient plazas and open space to capture the sun
  7. Multiple "front doors" to the campus
  8. Sustainable development/environmental enhancement
  9. Contiguous academic core
  10. Athletics/recreation integrated with academics/residential
  11. Asymmetrical linked plazas
  12. Informal organic structure
  13. Appropriate restraint in architectural design
  14. Setting for campus art
  15. People friendly spaces at building ground level
  16. Compatible transitions with community at edges
  17. Protect from the weather
  18. Parking located at west campus periphery
  19. Neighborhood connections

Character Patterns to be Avoided:

  • Pedestrian pathways that cross major vehicle routes
  • Expansive surface parking lots
  • Excessive and dominating roadways
  • Buildings over-powering the natural environment
  • "Paving your front yard"
  • Overly grand vehicular entries
  • Abrupt pedestrian transitions at campus edges
  • Unattractive building backsides
Page Updated 11.25.2013