University of Wisconsin-Madison


University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Plan Update

Madison, Wisconsin

936 acres

Campus Planning, Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning

Excellence in Landscape Architecture - Open Space Planning and Design, Honor Award - Analysis & Planning, Award of Excellence - Analysis and Planning

View All Awards

Collaborative, integrated campus master planning that supports broadly shared decision-making and the Wisconsin Idea is vitally important to our culture at UW-Madison. The SmithGroupJJR team helped make this master plan “our plan”: a guiding framework that is used daily and provides direction for all development across the campus for buildings, sites and our many community connections.

—Gary Brown, FASLA, Director, Campus Planning & Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison


The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the nation’s top research universities and the flagship institution of the UW System. Building on a nearly 25-year planning and design relationship, SmithGroupJJR led a team to help UW-Madison renew and advance its guiding 20-year framework for campus growth and development. The resulting master plan update provides future-forward recommendations for utility systems, long-range transportation needs, campuswide design guidelines, and the institution’s first ever landscape master plan, integrated with an innovative green infrastructure plan.

The University’s scenic 936-acre campus is directly adjacent to the capital city’s downtown and stretches for nearly five miles along the shore of Lake Mendota, requiring a thoughtful interface between community, campus and lakeshore. Recognizing that the health of the campus and its complex watershed are interdependent, SmithGroupJJR merged a traditional campus landscape planning process with a visionary, performance-based green infrastructure approach. This award-winning plan specifies an array of green infrastructure improvements, restores wetlands and other natural habitats, protects remarkable ancient effigy mounds, and enhances beloved campus gathering places and viewsheds. The process broadly engaged the public both on campus and beyond, fostering collaboration with the City of Madison and multiple regional partners to significantly reduce runoff pollution at a watershed scale.

This vision for a more sustainable, more connected campus fabric infuses the entire master plan. As expressed in the project’s theme, “Extending Our History, Embracing Our Future,” the plan provides UW-Madison with a blueprint for enhanced stewardship of the institution’s resources and its legacy.

Related Content

University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Plan
Download a copy of the complete master plan from the UW-Madison website.