The expansion plans of UCSC have always been met with some resistance, but their current Long Range Developement Plan (LRDP) has made a real stir. With the future enrollment numbers projecting substantial growth, and open space on campus being continually reduced with time, the issue has become more heated as more members of the community have gotten involved, including the local activist organizations the Coalition for Limiting University Expansion and LRDP Resistance. On November 7, 2007 there was a rally by UCSC students protesting the LRDP, and at least one student was arrested that day, which included students Tree Sitting 50 feet up in a group of Redwoods. Proponents of the university's plans generally site the positive cultural effects UCSC has had in Santa Cruz, and for society at large, as a reason to support a rapid expansion, and the university usually has some support on the Santa Cruz City Council.

Summary of the LRDP

The LRDP document is available to individuals via the internet, as well as by request from local libraries. However, here's a summary of 2005 LRDP (revised in 2006). In addition, the page numbers are included so you can refer back to the original document. The document itself contains many pictures and diagrams which are not represented here.

LRDP History

In its initial inception in 1963 when the school opened, planners projected that, by the year 1990, UCSC will have expanded to about 27,500 students (50% of which could live on-campus), with up to 20 residential colleges and 10 professional schools. The campus was to consist of dense academic growth and great preservation of the campus' pre-existing natural features.(pg.18)

In 1971, the plan was revised to include the student body expansion to 27,500, but called for it to occur over a longer period of time, with a target date sometime after the year 2000. The plan also included the concepts of dense academic areas and natural resource conservation.(pg.20)

In 1978, the plan was revised due to large cuts in the California State education budget, and thus scaled back its expansion plans. (pg.21) (Note: this part of the plan is somewhat vague.)

In 1985 (drafted in 1988), a new 20-year LRDP was developed to extend through 2005 to include a projected enrollment of 15,000 student, 12 residential colleges additional parking, and the establishment of a protected wildlife reserve in the northern part of the campus property. This land "was designated for possible future development, but was to be maintained almost entirely in its natural state under the terms of the 1988 LRDP." (pg.21) It also stipulated that growth be a product of collaboration between the University and the City of Santa Cruz, especially in regards to utilities (water, sewer, etc.) and transportation. (pg.22)

2005-2020 LRDP Objectives

Education (pg.11)

  • To meet the needs of a growing California population. The UC system must expand in order to meet the California Master Plan for Education, specifically the admittance of the top 12.5% of high-school graduates, the top 4.5% of each high school, and transfer students transferring from a community college.
  • To increase breadth and depth of educational programs and research
  • To create new spaces that "encourage academic, personal, and social development" and "expand its contribution to the public cultural life and

economic well being of the region through public programs, events, and services"

Sustainability (pg.48)

  • To "promote sustainable practices in campus development"
  • To "promote sustainable practices in campus operations"
  • To "encourage broad-based sustainability initiatives"

Land-Use (pg.49)

  • To "respect the natural environment and preserve open space as much as possible"
  • To "integrate the natural and built environment"
  • To "maintain UCSC's core configuration"
  • To "encourage sustainability and efficiency in building layouts"

Natural and Cultural Resources (pg.50)

  • To "respect major landscape and vegetation features"
  • To "maintain continuity of wildlife habitats"
  • To "design exterior landscaping to be compatible with surrounding native plant communities"
  • To "maintain natural surface drainage flows as much as possible"
  • To "protect historic and prehistoric cultural resources"

Transportation (pg. 51)

  • To "promote a walkable campus"
  • To "discourage automobile use to and on the campus"
  • To "consolidate parking facilities at perimeter campus locations"

Campus Life (pg.52)

  • To "enrich the academic experience for all students"
  • To "offer university housing opportunities for students and employees"
  • To "create an array of facilities that enrich the quality of campus life"

Santa Cruz Community (pg.53)

  • To "communicate and collaborate with the surrounding community"
  • To "encourage the economic health of the surrounding community"
  • To "provide an accessible and welcoming public-service environment"

The Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

"The 2005 LRDP is accompanied by the 2005 LRDP Environmental Impact Report (2005 LRDP EIR), as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The 2005 LRDP EIR presents detailed discussion of UCSC's existing environmental setting, the potentially significant environmental impacts of the 2005 LRDP, proposed mitigation measures, alternatives, and the cumulative effects of projected campus and regional growth. The 2005 LRDP (as well as a mitigation monitoring program) will be adopted following certification of the 2005 LRDP EIR by The Regents of the University of California. UCSC's 2005 LRDP does not constitute a mandate for growth, nor is it a detailed implementation plan for development. It does not commit the campus to carrying out development on any given timeline. Each specific capital project proposal will be analyzed individually for consistency with the 2005 LRDP and 2005 LRDP EIR and will be subject to review." (pg.8)


Planning for the 2005-2020 LRDP was carried out via a collaboration of "faculty, administration, staff, and students of UC Santa Cruz, as well as local and regional officials and interested members of the community", and was headed by the Strategic Futures Committee (consisting of administrators and faculty). The 2005 Long-Range Development Plan Committee (which consisted of "faculty, administrators, staff, and students, as well as representatives of the City of Santa Cruz, the County of Santa Cruz, the UC Office of the President, the UCSC Alumni Association, and the UC Santa Cruz Foundation") oversaw the creation of the plan. Cooper, Robertson & Partners (and architectural and land use firm), as well as individual "subconsultants" were hired to help with facets of engineering and land use. (pg.9)

The LRDP Committee also held "well-publicized workshops" during the 2003-04 school year and consulted with "UCSC students, faculty, and staff through a series of meetings, presentations, and town hall gatherings" which resulted in the creation of "white papers", which reflect the involveent of the community and are now available in the McHenry Library special collections. (pg.10)

Student Enrollment

Though originally the plan sought to increase the fall-winter-spring average enrollment to 21,000 students total, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was performed caused a reconsideration of that number, and it has since been revised to an average enrollment of 19,500 students total by the year 2020. This amounts to approximately 5,100 more students to the campus student population as of the 2003-04 school year (pg.1). They also hope to increase student enrollment in summer school sessions (pg.59).

Additionally, the enrollment of additional students will coincide with the addition of more faculty members with a projected increase of 980 employees. (pg.59


The plan expects to see an additional 1,108,000 gross square feet of instruction and research building space (pg.60) with the following space allotment (pgs. 61-63):

Land Use

Much of the open space and undeveloped areas of the campus will still remain intact despite plans to expand, and 65% of the building and growth will occur in areas that are already developed (pg.2).

This information is best represented in the maps included in the LRDP document, so look there for the planned reconfiguration of the campus, specifically pages 65 and 66. Additionally, a pie chart of the breakdown of campus land use is on page 70, though there is no comparison for the 1988 LRDP.

Natural Reserves and Features

Of the designated Campus Resource Land, 136 of the 471 acres will be developed, bringing the new Campus Resource Land acreage to 335 acres. An additional 17 acres (410 acres versus the 393 acres stipulated in the 1988 LRDP) is included in the space designated as the Campus Natural Reserves. The area to remain in its natural state may be subject to minimal road and path building in order to connect different academic, research and residential areas(pg.68).

Campus Resource Land: Reduction from 471 acres to 335 acres (-136 acres) Environmental Reserve/Campus Natural Reserves: Increase from 393 acres to 410 acres (+17 acres)

No building in the lower meadows will be allowed (pg.69).


The plan focuses on strengthening pedestrian corridors and shuttle transit, as well as discouraging on-campus traffic; however, the plan includes new parking facilities (pg.2). The East Remote Parking lot will have a deck added for additional parking.

The University has made efforts to reduce the amount of automobile usage by encouraging the use of public transportation and pedestrian/bicycle-friendly infrastructure, as well as limiting parking to some students (pg.27)

New roads and bridges will be constructed to make transportation more fluid (pg.85). New bicycle paths will be built (both on existing roads and in non-vehicle areas), and existing lanes will be made safer (pg.86).


An additional 15 acres of playing fields will be added to the current acreage. Additionally, additional playing courts will be added nearby to new student housing developments.(pg.78)


The university intends to implement water and energy conservation plans in order to offset the environmental effects and strains on the current systems (pg.88). Apparently, the current sewer system is already designed to support a student body of 27,500 students, so only minimal improvements will be needed in tha respect (pg.90).

Topics Not Included in the LRDP

  • How new development will be funded.
  • Admittance as to what areas and buildings, whether of academic, social or historical will be removed in the course of development. However, several elements are explicitly noted as being subject to preservation, such as the Cowell Ranch historic area.

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