Urban Planning and Design Thesis Prize in Urban Design
Rescaling the University: Vertical Campuses and Postindustrial Urban Restructuring in Western Sydney
Advised by Eve Blau
The relationship between postindustrial urban restructuring and the spatial expansion of public universities in Western Sydney is neither fully understood nor simple. Focusing on a single institutional case study, Rescaling the University asks how Western Sydney University’s recent “vertical campuses” progress spatial and institutional rescaling efforts that respond to and further a postindustrializing urban context. Through historical research, interviews, mapping, and data visualization, the dissertation explores “vertical campuses” in terms of trans-scalar strategies for urban development, using individual projects to advance a new metropolitan tertiary education geography. These trans-scalar strategies reflect the reurbanization of Western Sydney University’s regionally focused mission, in which land acquisition and development have assumed a core position alongside pedagogical reform. At present, the University’s reurbanization has been achieved largely independently of metropolitan and municipal urban development efforts. However, evolving project delivery processes indicate that new alliances between the University and other public development institutions may emerge. I argue that these new alliances should focus on the coordination of the vertical campus network as a matter of both metropolitan planning and urban design in order to amplify and democratize the spatial, social and, economic benefits of this reurbanization process.