University of Cincinnati


Student Housing Demand Analysis

In 2014 the University of Cincinnati selected B&D to conduct a demand assessment as part of the university’s student housing master plan. We were tasked with advising the university regarding renovation sequencing of existing residence halls, as well as the bed type and housing preferences of graduate students, international students, and students with families. To complete this assignment, we conducted student focus group interviews to gain qualitative information regarding housing preferences. This data was then used to develop and administer a housing preference survey completed by over 3,600 students and more than 600 parents. The survey results were used to create a demand model projecting housing demand by bed type. Next, a benchmarking analysis of peer institutions was performed to better understand the university’s competitive position in terms of offerings and housing facilities. All of the data collected informed a strategic hall analysis that compared residential facilities. Our research and analysis revealed a surplus of traditional-style beds and a deficit of suite- and apartment-style beds. Given this significant unmet housing demand, we recommended that the university continue to provide a mix of on-campus unit types to cater to the wide variety of existing student living preferences. The research also demonstrated that de-densifying the traditional-style residence halls would provide more common space not only for socializing but also for quiet study areas. Furthermore, the addition of suite- and apartment-style units would meet the high demand for in-unit kitchens in a convenient location. Several demand risks for additional housing were defined, including enrollment fluctuations, changes to the first-year live-on requirement, and the private construction of additional off-campus student-focused housing. The university went on to select Richard Fleischman + Partners in 2014 to design Scioto Residence Hall’s renovations, and also is planning to build a new mixed-use facility adjacent to Scioto on the previous site of Sawyer Hall. The $35 million Scioto renovations can accommodate 450 students and was opened in the fall of 2016.