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07 Aug 2020

Delivering a Vision- the Bournemouth University Journey

Delivering a Vision- the Bournemouth University Journey

Strong Relationships and Community Engagement

It was recognised that in order to redesign the BU campus that utilising a diverse team with specialist expertise would be essential in developing a strong masterplan. For example, a sub-team who understood design and strategy would contribute to the successful delivery of the academic side of things. The terminology used in the plan was recognised as important; the term ‘partner’ rather than ‘contractor’ helped to successfully integrate the team and to develop strong relationships in order to drive the vision forward. Investment in community engagement encouraged building rapport with local authorities, MPs and charities to respond to ongoing communal issues. This has positively changed the public’s perception of BU, improving its overall reputation. Sustainability additionally links to this: roughly 95% of the university’s programmes are currently aligned directly to their sustainability goal of becoming net zero by 2030. The university has agreed long term partnerships with increased investment; for example developing improved bus infrastructure and consequently lowering carbon emissions. With strong relationships already in place to underpin decisions, discussions were eased around the response to Covid-19 and how to make transport Covid-19 friendly. Most university areas have a healthcare service nearby; BU recently provided free bike services to local NHS staff. While this could be viewed as just a small contribution, it makes a significant difference to workers - many of whom are graduates – stimulating a cycle of longer term benefits.

The Campus

Prior to its redesign, the university was largely concealed by trees. It was key to become visible and welcoming, and to showcase BU’s value and importance to the local area. An arch was designed which frames the campus and has BU’s Fusion Building at its heart. BU’s first major investment was the student centre. The campus lacked social study spaces. Students typically used the campus for lectures, then retreated to their accommodations. Despite space constraints, the student centre building was designed to provoke curiosity and make users eager to explore. Its functions change throughout the academic year: initially it’s a social space for community and friendship; it then develops into a space for collaboration and co-creation; by exam season, it’s quiet for study use, similar to the library which is directly attached. Additionally, huge investment went into the Fusion Building, with an objective of enhancing the academic and personal social side of university. This setting allows education, research and professional practice to overlap. 60-70% of BU’s learning experiences occur here, though its sense of collaboration and movement remain the dominating features.

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