Project: Context and background

Many developing and emerging regions and countries worldwide are making large investments in science, technology and higher education aiming at responding to the explosive social demand for higher education and to the vast social and political transformations already induced by new waves of educated youth. These investments not only seek new policy actions, but also their continuous assessment and the guarantee from working along together with well established academic and scientific institutions from developed countries and to actively participate in international knowledge networks and flows.

Although university campuses have existed for more than 2000 years, including the very initial “Budhist learning centers” in India (namely in Taxila, 6th Century BC, in Nalanda, 3rd Century BC and Ajanta, 2nd Century BC) and at least since the 11th century in Islamic societies (namely with the creation of the Universities of Bagad and Nishapour in 1060 and, therefore, earlier than the creation of European universities in the 12th century), most of the comprehensive and comparative overviews of the historical development of university design have been published with reference to the American Campus in the 20th century. Notably, the work by Turner (1984) is still today considered throughout the technical literature as the most significant review and historical analysis of the evolution of the university campus (see Appendix 1). It mainly surveys the architecture of universities in the United States since the beginning of colonial settlement until the mid 80s, including a brief description of the English college as the precursor of the American college. Nevertheless, emerging opportunities and potential trends for technology-enabled active learning environments, including the way they are changing the traditional “University campus” concept, remain to be understood, namely in spatial terms.

On the other hand, comparative studies on the performance of university campus planning and design in developing societies has not been published and most of the relevant literature reports specific cases, mostly under reference terms developed elsewhere and in relation to different socio-economic and cultural contexts. Among these, a reference should be made to Oscar Newmeyer´s work in the early 70´s to accomplish the design of the University of Constantine, in Argel, which has involved the preparation of a program following that of the University of Brasilia in the 60´s.


Please look at the following sections of this working paper:


Introduction: goal and approach

Context and background (This page)

Implementation and field research

Work proposal

Appendix 1: background information and sample literature survey

Appendix 2: Preliminary list of cities and institutions for field research