Georgia Tech Unveils 2023 Comprehensive Campus Plan

As a sprawling university in Atlanta’s core, Georgia Tech faces similar land use and development considerations to the city at large, but likely with more agility and flexibility. Georgia Tech’s Comprehensive Campus Plan (and follow through) is therefore an interesting case study for planners and developers to consider.

The University projects a 26% increase in on-campus students, faculty, and staff over the next decade. This demand, within limited space, requires that Georgia Tech rethink how its campus will grow.

The 2023 Comprehensive Campus Plan (CCP) lays out the following space needs:

  • An additional 2.23 million gross square feet to meet academic, research, and workplace space needs.
  • Approximately 2,000 new beds for first-year students and supporting dining growth.
  • Additional indoor recreation and outdoor recreational and athletic fields and facilities.

Meanwhile, the CCP prioritizes development designs that are friendly to the environment and pedestrian mobility.

“Heal the Ridge,” for example, is one of the CCP’s Big Ideas. Since the west side of campus is a ridge that creates a watershed and surface water runoff, the CCP heavily considers stormwater drainage and watershed maps in its development blueprints. “Surface runoff at a ridge point should be handled onsite and not transmitted downstream, north or south, in order to conserve watershed capacity for rainfall events,” the report says. In other words, Georgia Tech will create more nature spaces that can handle floods on campus and prevent floods in nearby neighborhoods. Sections 3.2 through 3.4 of the CCP, which begin on page 17, go into depth on these strategies.

Campus connectivity is also a major priority, making up three of the CCP’s five Big Ideas. Georgia Tech wants to increase its sense of community and walkability by “densifying the core.” This means no new roads (net); more bike lanes; improved sidewalks, crosswalks, and walking areas; increased transit connections; and denser residential developments. Like we are seeing with several local governments, the CCP lays out intentions for residential buildings taller than five stories (eight to twelve stories) and nearby mixed-use areas. Further connectivity between academic buildings will also be important, according to the Plan, for connecting academic departments across the large campus. The southwest part of campus is also being built out, and the CCP highlights the important of “anchoring” this area as another accessible, community-involved series of developments. Recommendations for specific campus area begin on page 61 of the Plan.

Transit connectivity will also be key. The CCP admits that Georgia Tech’s location is a blessing and a curse: “[the campus’] location relative to Downtown and Midtown Atlanta gives it the potential opportunity to take advantage of the amenities and services of the metropolitan core, but its location relative to major infrastructure corridors limits how easily some of these can be accessed.” New bridges and transit route recommendations are therefore laid out by the CCP. Section 4.7 (page 91) goes into depth.

All in all, Georgia Tech’s Comprehensive Campus Plan represents a bright vision for the University’s future. As of now, there are no timeline expectations set for the Plan’s developments.

To consider another perspective, see Urbanize Atlanta’s article here.

To access a PDF of the Plan, click the button below.

Click Here for a PDF of the Comprehensive Campus Plan