University of California Merced – Master Plan

The University of California at Merced was the first major university campus in the United States to open in the 21st century. UC Merced had the opportunity to further define the role and form of the university at a time of accelerated change in technology and information access.

Four general themes guided the physical development of UC Merced: technology, outreach, sustainability, and model for growth. The 2,000-acre campus was planned for an eventual 25,000 students. It is composed of three primary land-use elements: the Main Campus, the Campus Reserve, and the Campus Natural Preserve. Each has an important role in the three key missions of the university: teaching, research, and public service.

The campus sets an example for urban growth in the San Joaquin Valley, showing how increases in population can be accommodated while preserving the agricultural and environmental basis of its economy and ecosystem. Every aspect of its construction and operation achieved a high level of resource conservation, including materials, energy use, and sustainability.