Embracing the Past, Ready for the Future

Master Planning is the process of transforming program needs into physical form.  It’s the method of identifying what is the best built environment to support the University’s current operations as well as its strategic aspirations.

University of Iowa Master Planning is based on the premise that the Master Plan is an on-going planning process which has no beginning or end. It differs from the traditional, architecturally driven approach by introducing a more complex operating philosophy which:

  • is scalable, diverse, and interactive.
  • can have numerous physical development options.
  • takes a team effort, thus strengthening ownership and accountability.
  • allows for varying levels of detail and progress amongst the themes.
  • is managed with internal resources.
  • has a common vision and framework by which all development follows.
  • is data driven, policy shaped, budget aligned, and design influenced.
  • balances long-term structure with flexible and adaptable near-term options.  
  • is a tool for long-term decision making.

The campus’ built environment is a comprehensive network of land, buildings and infrastructure supporting a complex and diverse organization. The University of Iowa’s Master Plan is a collection of the following themes, each of which are rooted in the University’s Core Values. 


Each theme has its own detailed plan consisting of four basic stages in the planning process.  Each stage, or ring, in the adjacent graphic is built upon and provides more detail than the previous inner ring.   The first two stages (rings) make up the master planning phases of a theme’s plan.  The third and fourth stages (rings) complete a theme’s long range plan and provides detailed action plans for improvement.

Stage     Description

               Master Planning

1.           Theme specific goals, objectives, and strategies needed to support the core values.

2.           Analysis, needs and concept plans to meet the goals and objectives.

              Long Range Planning

3.          Policies, procedures, operating plans, design guidelines, and funding strategies,  
             needed for plan development.
4.          Project development, prioritization, and implementation strategies needed to inform the
             University’s Campus Development Plan.
Master Planning_LongRangePlanning