CapU has hired Dialog to craft master plan that will lay out the vision for the campus in 2030

Christine Beyleveldt // News Editor

Capilano University’s campus, according to Director of Campus Planning Susan Doig, needs to be designed for the student that is currently four years old.

An entire generation of future students is growing up in a world where technology is at their fingertips, so naturally the future of CapU will need to provide a space where they can thrive.

The University hired Dialog, a planning and urban design company that has developed campus plans for postsecondary institutions across the country. A campus plan lays out a framework for development and informs decision making for an extended period of time.

“Sustainability is embedded in everything that we do as a firm,” said Martin Nielsen, a mechanical engineer and registered architect with Dialog. Nielsen presented his inspiration at CapU on Oct. 11, adding that it needs to be a driving force behind the campus plan.

After the Second World War, there was an immense growth in campuses and increasingly, campus space began to be dominated by roads and parking stalls. Prior to the war, post-secondary institutions had a positive relationship with the land, and that’s what Dialog hopes to incorporate in the vision for the University.

For CapU specifically, students are drawn to the unique programming the institution offers. Working closely with the University while reviewing feedback from stakeholders, Dialog will create a vision over the next nine to 12 months. Each phase of the plan will take approximately three months. The first phase involves creating a baseline and launching engagement. When this baseline is complete, a draft will be shown to stakeholders, then during the second and third phases the plan will be developed and finalized.

Inspiration for the future of the campus focuses on community connection, mobility and investing in the landscape. A common complaint from students is that there aren’t enough social spaces on campus, which the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) hopes to remedy by overseeing the construction of a student union building with a social hub.

Nielsen added that he thinks the notion of a complete campus will be a huge topic of discussion, as it refers to a campus that provides services and amenities on site.

Nielsen also remarked that millennials in particular have redefined mobility and needs for it, pointing out that the use of personal vehicles has decreased over the years with more people reverting to walking, cycling and taking public transit. “The U-Pass came out of CapU,” he said, “and I give UBC all the credit, because I know how much it’s changed UBC… They’re expanding their bus loop, they’re getting 900 buses a day and far less single occupancy vehicles.”

As for investing in the landscape, Dialog hopes to incorporate public infrastructure into the learning experience, and make use of the surrounding environment for teaching purposes. Doig later pointed out during a panel discussion that when she thinks about the campus, she thinks of creating a space that can serve as a classroom instead of creating a classroom, but it has to serve future needs.

“When I first came here we looked like a church basement,” Doig said, “What we’ve done very successfully I think, is we’ve become a really good high school, and now we have this amazing opportunity to leapfrog and really start to try and envision not what does 2030 look like physically, but what do we see [as being] the most radical change we possibly could?”


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