University of Pennsylvania


Student Housing Master Plan And Master Plan Update

B&D was retained by the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 to develop a student housing program plan. The university was concerned that off-campus developments might have increased the risk of building new on-campus housing to the point where the university’s projects should no longer be considered feasible. As part of the plan, we conducted student focus groups, an off-campus market analysis, a competitive context analysis, a peer institution analysis, and a student survey to develop facility demand projections grounded in the university’s housing philosophies, policies, and practices. We identified key challenges to the implementation of the university’s housing goals. More than a decade earlier, it had committed to developing a comprehensive College House system, but had lacked the facilities and policies needed to operate this unique housing model successfully. Over the following years, the off-campus market had changed greatly, adding numerous projects targeting the university’s students, and 1,400 new beds were projected to be added by 2008. Our market analysis identified demand for an additional 1,200 on-campus student beds. In order to address demand and the challenges of the College House system, the university’s working committee explored various scenarios including the creation of freshman houses, instituting a sophomore live-on requirement or guaranteeing sophomore housing, and converting an existing facility into a college house or a dedicated graduate hall. We were re-engaged in 2011 to update our market analysis and to develop a long-term plan for student housing. We recommended that university implement both a program plan and a financial/operations plan. The program plan outlined a housing redevelopment approach that would strengthen the university’s offerings. The financial and operations plan described solutions to issues such as housing affordability and room selection efficiency.