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A Case Study in Master Planning the Learning Landscape Hub Concepts for the University at Buffalo


  • A Learning Landscape approach to master planning takes into account the entire environment that learners experience, from instructional to informal learning places, from physical to virtual.
  • Compared with traditional campus space allocations, the clustering of functions into "hubs" can create multiuse spaces that encourage synergies between activities, enable more effective use of space, and bring groups together.
  • Hubs are envisioned as collaborative centers with enabling technology that are bookable on demand to support the more distributed mobile work patterns of all types of learning communities, and to foster interaction and innovation.

This case study describes concepts for three types of learning spaces that grew out of a Learning Landscape planning process. The process was part of a master plan study for the three campuses of the University at Buffalo. It involved research into user needs and aspirations about future pedagogy, development of learning space strategy, campus-scale planning principles, and concepts for exemplary spaces.

The three space concepts described here address the needs of different sets of constituents: the Teaching Hub with experimental spaces combined with support, Learning Corridors to enrich the student realm, and the Faculty Hub as a destination for interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and researchers. These are some of the space concepts and strategies which are currently being applied during the refinement of the draft master plan.

View the Case Study PDF (9 MB)

Shirley Dugdale

Shirley is a space planning consultant who specializes in learning environments. The focus of her work is on strategic approaches that use space design to help leverage institutional change. She explores facilities that have had a transformative impact and is interested in developing research on the relationship between space planning and improved learning outcomes. She received her M. in Architecture from Harvard and has worked for 20 years on academic facilities, from programming to master planning. Recent projects have included programming of facilities for Stanford, MIT and Johns Hopkins.


Roger Torino

Strategy Consultant


Elliot Felix

Elliot leads brightspot strategy, a consultancy focused on creating brighter work and learning experiences. He is an accomplished strategist, expert facilitator, and gifted sense-maker, able to understand the most complex of problems through both creative and analytical means. He has directed projects for leading companies as well as higher education and cultural institutions such as Google, Microsoft, SFMOMA, University of Virginia, NC State University, and several business schools. Elliot frequently writes and speaks about design strategy and also teaches in the Design and Management program at Parsons The New School for Design.


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