Work has now resumed on defining the focus of how to develop SLU’s operations at Ultuna. For example, it will clarify opportunities for SLU to expand and to use land in the future. SLU’s operations are affected by the growth and expansion occurring in Uppsala and as the city approaches with its needs for public transport, new roads and housing.
Until now, Ultuna has been a safe zone at the edges of Uppsala, in an open agricultural landscape with surrounding wooded areas and where Ultuna and SLU were one and the same. This is no longer the case. Uppsala is expanding and new homes are being built in direct connection to Ultuna. Many activities must coexist in the area. This means that SLU must plan to ensure access to future land and buildings and to study what obstacles may exist for these plans.
Five city nodes
Uppsala will grow by an additional 70,000 residents in the next 30 years. The municipality’s 2016 comprehensive plan for Uppsala describes Uppsala in 2050 as a five-node city, where the Gottsunda-Ultuna area is one of four nodes around the inner city. These city nodes already exist, and new centres can potentially complement the inner city and each other.
Gottsunda-Ultuna will develop as an interconnected city node with two points of emphasis that strengthen each other: Gottsunda, as a centre with services, culture and trade, and Ultuna, which concentrates on national research and education.
Both centres will be developed with a concentration of built-up areas, housing, businesses and other functions that complement and strengthen each centre and the city node as a living urban centre, while specialised settings can continue to be developed around Ultuna.
The new city will have fast and high-capacity public transport that supports the development of arteries and nodes, a train station in Bergsbrunna and a new bridge over the river Fyrisån.
Pastureland and experimental cultivation
Most of the land in the peripheral areas is owned by SLU or by Akademiska Hus. The open fields are agricultural land that is, to some extent, used for experimental cultivation, as pastureland or for other purposes related to the university’s activities.
The campus plan is to focus on utilising all the land and building stock in the area in the way that best supports SLU’s operations and contributes to Campus Ultuna becoming as attractive, functional and development-oriented an environment as possible. The purpose is to try to influence the municipality’s physical planning through the campus plan to meet the urgent needs that SLU and Akademiska Hus have when it comes to land use.
In this context, SLU needs to see what opportunities exist to be able to expand in the future. The university needs to plan for an expanded mission in the future that could require special premises and land for cultivation or various kinds of experiments. The need for teaching premises is currently well met, so an increase in the number of students could occur without the need for more or larger premises.
Contract on land use
At the beginning of 2020, SLU, Akademiska Hus and Uppsala municipality signed a letter of intent that included future land use. In the long term, large parts of Ultuna north of the road Veterinärvägen will be converted into a residential area, central Ultuna will continue to be developed as a campus, and most of southern Ultuna will remain cultivated land while some parts will be developed.
The municipality’s plans are both an opportunity and a threat. It can be an advantage for Ultuna to be integrated into the city with better communications, services and nearby housing, while SLU has valuable cultivation experiments and significant animal husbandry that is not as easy to integrate.
Overarching campus plan
Current ongoing work is a collaboration between SLU and Akademiska Hus, but Uppsala municipality and other organisations will also be brought in. The work will initially result in a structural plan that will identify the overarching conditions, opportunities and limitations that will exist at Ultuna in 20 years, i.e., the near future.
Examples of areas covered by the campus development plan
- Buildings for SLU for future expansion
- Experimental and demonstration crops and pastures
- Green areas
- Student housing
- Streets, roads and cycle paths
- Public transport