As the mornings and evenings grow darker, the campus development plans are taking shape, both on and off stage.
In Alnarp, the next step is to consolidate and compile materials from previous inquiries, including the 2019 campus plan. We’re talking needs analyses and visions, but also the results from the workshops on office, teaching and lab environments.
Funding and location
As for the new builds and rebuilds, it’s important to assess to what extent our part of the organisation can handle increased rent costs. We’ll need to find long-term funding models, e.g. depreciation and shared responsibility.
Support has been established for a new location proposal for departments and units; this will be presented on the campus development web pages and a decision will be taken by the campus development steering group, chaired by the vice-chancellor.
For those who haven’t yet seen it, the new campus development plan for Ultuna is available here.
Alnarp train station
The Swedish Transport Administration and Lomma municipality are both involved in all the station area planning and coordination currently taking place. Among the things discussed is how to design entrances and links to buildings, park and the landscape lab for travellers getting off or on trains. The Division of Real Estate Management has enlisted the help of a landscape architect (an Alnarp graduate) to find solutions.
One critical challenge is how to ensure irrigation for field trials in a way that doesn’t compete with the new aquifer facility at Alnarp. This is a complex issue – legally, technically and financially – but essential to SLU’s Alnarp operations. This is an issue likely to be discussed at a higher level.
Visits to departments and units
It’s unlikely that everyone will have the time, or inclination, to keep up-to-date on the campus development plans. According to sample interviews carried out by Li Gessbo from the Division of Communication, people are primarily interested in the parts of the plan that affect them; completely understandable! During this semester, Sara Kyrö Wissler, campus development project leader and coordinator, Margit Nothnagl, head of faculty administration, and I will therefore be attending information sessions at departments and units. Please come along, and we’ll tell you more about what’s going on.
Campus development doctoral student
One very positive piece of news is that thanks to a financial collaboration with Akademiska hus and Movium Partnership, we now have a doctoral student involved in the campus development project. Dennis Andreasson is a doctoral student at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management. He will be studying campus development processes while monitoring and contributing to the one in Alnarp. This is a unique initiative that has attracted positive comments internationally.
The question of how to establish living labs on campus to strengthen operations and improve our relevance was addressed at an inspiring seminar in early October, arranged by the SLU Urban Futures platform.
There are several perspectives on this, but the concept was defined in 2018 by the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL): ”Living Labs (LLs) are defined as user-centred, open innovation ecosystems based on systematic user co-creation approach, integrating research and innovation processes in real life communities and settings”.
Many universities with campus environments around the world are now opting, in different ways, to invest in living labs to improve their capacity for contributing to sustainable development. The concept of living labs fits in well with the Alnarp campus plan, the vision of which is “A unique, green hub for cutting-edge research, education and innovation. A campus for regional, national and global sustainable development collaboration.”
As we already have facilities in place that could be called living labs, we have every opportunity to make this concept a part of our campus. As long-term infrastructure, living labs are a financial challenge that requires a new way of looking at SLU’s role in society. If the ideas generated in living labs are to become a reality, this is the path we need to choose at SLU.