UBC finishes Campus Vision 2050 engagement and presents final draft

On October 16, UBC’s Board of Governors (BoG) met to discuss the final draft of Campus Vision 2050, with plans ranging from affordable housing, efficient transportation, climate mitigation and new learning spaces.

The vision’s final draft comes after 18 months of community engagement from January 2022 to August 2023. In an interview with The Ubyssey, Associate Vice-President of Campus and Community Planning Michael White said, "It was the deepest engagement process that the university has ever undertaken for campus planning.”

“We also made a real effort this time to go to work groups [and attend] … regular meetings … this was really helpful for targeting marginalized and underrepresented communities,” said White.

White said they heard a real emphasis on affordable housing from students. Campus Vision includes the construction of at least 3,300 new student housing beds and the replacement of 1,000 existing beds. The report states that St. John's College and Place Vanier residences will undergo expansion to meet the housing requirements of graduate students. Further, it identifies Acadia Park student family townhouses as one of its long-term planning areas.

The twofold increase in residential development within the neighbourhood surpasses the current Land Use Plan by 20 per cent.

White said there was “a real desire to see a stronger Musqueam presence on campus.” According to the vision, the expansion of Indigenous presence includes "descriptions of UBC-Musqueam collaborations on capital projects, strategies for enhancing biodiversity, climate resilience through Indigenous practices and appropriate use of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ words, and representation in renderings and graphics."

Previously, concerns have arisen about the plan's approach to climate action. Campus vision includes climate commitments, such as a target of net zero operational emissions in neighbourhoods from new buildings by 2030. The report also includes directions for a natural systems approach, such as rainwater and cliff erosion management.

The plan aims to extend the Millennium Line Skytrain to UBC with stations in the centre of campus near the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, UBC Bus Exchange and in the south campus near Stadium and Westbrook Place Neighbourhoods by 2030.

Going forward, White explained for Campus Vision to be implemented, UBC will need to update their Land Use Plan, which regulates how land is used on campus. UBC is holding a public hearing for feedback on the Land Use Plan, happening on November 7th. BoG will be presented the outcomes of the public hearing in December, make possible adjustments, and send the Land Use Plan to the provincial government for final approval.

“There's an urgent need to do all of those things, and so Campus Vision has the opportunity to develop directions and ideas.”