Campus Master Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Campus Master Plan?

A Campus Master Plan envisions potential solutions for addressing the university’s strategic goals in the physical environment, such as housing, seismic resilience, sustainability goals, and academic space needs. The Campus Master Plan will set aspirations for the physical campus in the long term, and identify scenarios for addressing strategic goals and needs in the near to medium term. While projects and initiatives will be implemented as resources become available, the Campus Master Plan will provide the university with a guide to make comprehensive decisions about investing in the built environment.

Why does UC Berkeley need to update its Campus Master Plan?

The university last completed a master plan in 2002 – the New Century Plan, followed by the Landscape Master Plan, the Landscape Heritage Plan, and the Bicycle Master Plan. Since 2002, much has changed in terms of technology and instructional approaches, from smartphones, cloud computing, and bike shares to flexible classrooms, maker space, interdisciplinary studies, and libraries as collaboration spaces. The university also developed a new strategic plan in 2018, which has identified a number of priorities that can be supported by improvements to the physical environment. The University of California Office of the President has also established new policies regarding carbon neutrality, sustainability, and seismic resilience. These new ideas, priorities, and policies will all be incorporated into the new Campus Master Plan.

Why aren't University of California campuses subject to local land use controls?

The University of California is constitutionally exempt from local land use regulations when using its property in furtherance of its educational purposes. However, it is University policy to evaluate proposed projects for consistency with local plans and policies.

Individual projects will undergo additional reviews as implemented, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

What environmental requirements are associated with a Campus Master Plan?

A campus master plan is not a project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and does not require CEQA review. However, Berkeley’s Campus Master Plan will use the Long Range Development Plan's organizational framework as its foundation. The Campus Master Plan will also take into account best practices and University of California policies in many areas, including building standards, sustainability, seismic resilience, mobility, historic resources, and natural resources.

How is the Campus Master Plan related to the Long Range Development Plan?

The Long Range Development Plan is a framework that provides structure and order to the planning of future projects; it is a high-level document that is similar to a city’s general plan and does not identify specific, individual projects.

The Long Range Development Plan is focused on the overall organization of the built environment and the associated potential environmental impacts. The campus master plan envisions potential projects and initiatives that could be implemented to achieve the university’s strategic goals, within the organizational framework of the Long Range Development Plan. The campus master plan will consider changes in technology, new methods of instruction, and new modes of mobility, and how they can be integrated and reinforced in the physical environment – from new buildings to renovations and infrastructure improvements.

In 2019, UC Berkeley began a multi-year process to update its Long Range Development Plan and to create a new Campus Master Plan in parallel, with guidance from the same Advisory Group and Working Group, in order to optimize cohesion between the two plans. The updated Long Range Development Plan was approved by the UC Board of Regents on July 22, 2021.