University of Wisconsin–Madison

About CPLA

The department of Campus Planning and Landscape Architecture (CPLA) is concerned about the preservation and enhancement of our unique campus sense of place and the relationships created between the buildings and open spaces within our 936 acre campus.

CPLA works with faculty, staff, students, and the surrounding urban community on physical planning issues, including implementation of the Campus Master Plan. Staff assist with the capital budgeting and infrastructure planning processes, assist with facility-related ADA issues, review all capital project site plans, design and manage landscape architecture projects, provide support for historic and cultural resources, and manage public art, as well as serve as liaisons with municipal governments, alders, and adjacent neighborhoods.

Areas of Service

Campus Planning staff focus on the university’s long-range planning and the capital development functions of Facilities Planning & Management division as a counterpart to the project-related functions of Capital Planning & Development department. We are responsible for interpreting, updating, and recommending strategies that are aligned with the Campus Master Plan.  We guide campus development in a way that gives physical form to the university’s mission, vision, and programs through the effective use of human, environmental, and financial resources.  Campus planning also serves as a project liaison between the City of Madison, our adjacent neighborhoods, and the campus community to ensure expectations are managed and site development is viewed within the campus context.

What We Do

Landscape Architecture staff serve as stewards for UW-Madison’s 936 acre campus environment.  They support the principles set forth by the Campus Master Plan and ensure a high quality teaching and learning environment is implemented.  They serve as a technical resource involved with review and development for all campus improvements including both new projects and renovation sites.   They also provide oversight in the areas of; campus site amenities, lighting, signage, street trees, stormwater management, green infrastructure practices, plant material use, hardscapes, and natural area improvements.

What We Do

  • Oversee conformance of site planning, site design, landscape design, and green infrastructure in the context of the Campus Master Plan for new and renovation projects.
  • Ensure campus project conformance to the UW Techncial Guidelines (campus site amenities) and State of Wisconsin DFD requirements.
  • Provide small project site and landscape design services to support UW Grounds and departmental requests.
  • Member on the UW-Madison Campus Design Review Board and Campus Planning Committee.
  • Provide guidance and leadership on campus policy related to exterior environment topics.

Historic and Cultural Resource staff ensure our campus historic buildings and landscapes, including our Native American archaeological sites, are managed, documented, and preserved for future generations in accordance with state and federal policies.  The division works closely with the Wisconsin Historical Society to provide guidance on preservation and mitigation issues related to proposed and existing developments on campus.  It is also tasked with planning for and maintaining the university’s public art installations, outside of the Chazen collection.

What We Do

  • Provide guidance on preservation issues and reviews related to University buildings and sites.
  • Provide reviews (including site disturbance) of campus archaeological sites (including effigy mounds and habitation sites).
  • Planning, cataloging, and maintaining the campus art collection, outside of Chazen. (including art inventories, conservation of public art, statues, murals, etc.).
  • Build awareness of important and unique campus resources through the planning and development of interpretive materials (markers, plaques, signage, etc.).
  • Demonstrate the importance of UW-Madison through cultural landscape and campus history tours.

Lakeshore Nature Preserve staff permanently protects the undeveloped lands along the shore of Lake Mendota where members of the campus community have long experienced the intellectual and aesthetic benefits of interacting with the natural world.  The Preserve shelters biologically significant plant and animal communities for teaching, research, outreach, and environmentally sensitive use, and safeguards beloved cultural landscapes.  The Preserve is as essential to the university as its lecture halls, laboratories, and playing fields. It contributes to a powerful sense of place and fosters an ethic of stewardship to promote mutually beneficial relationships between humans and the rest of nature.

Lakeshore Nature Preserve website

What We Do

  • Preserve, restore, and interpret natural plant and animal communities in conjunction with UW-Madison’s educational mission.
  • Protect signature landscapes and views that are vital to defining the University campus and the city of Madison.
  • Establish management priorities that maximize educational benefits while minimizing the impacts of educational use.
  • Provide access to wild, non-human nature for the campus community and region.

Accessibility and the facilities access specialist within FP&M provide information for visitors, faculty, staff, and students on campus athletic venues, transportation alternatives, building maps with access information, and emergency information.  They also assist with personalized responses to ensure UW-Madison is creating an accessible and inclusive campus experience for all members of the campus community.

Accessibility at UW-Madison 

FP&M Disability Resource Guide

What We Do

  • Create campus policy related to accessibility and facility access.
  • Review new and renovated campus building and site plans for accessibility and code compliance.
  • Assist facility managers and building users with accessibility concerns and accommodation requests.
  • Develop personalized access plans for students, faculty, and staff.

CPLA News