We connect people, spaces, and resources to
prepare the university to thrive in the future
What We Do
The Department of Campus Planning & Real Estate is responsible for planning, programming, and designing campuses that meet current and future needs of Northeastern students, faculty and staff. Our work falls into the following categories:
Northeastern’s visionary 2025 plan calls for using the power of networks to accelerate discovery, collaborate freely and learn without boundaries. Our robust and growing network of campuses around the world enables all three of these goals, and Campus Planning & Real Estate plays a lead role in planning and supporting the University’s work in each unique region.
Space is an essential University asset, but its true value is only realized when it’s well designed. Campus Planning & Real Estate works hard to provide high-quality buildings and interiors that are effective, innovative, flexible, and exciting.
The University’s Guidelines for Capital Project Design and Implementation is used by architects, engineers, designers, consultants, and vendors so that they understand best practices for design and construction at Northeastern. Click here to access the guidelines.
Northeastern University is committed to identifying design firms that share our passion for innovation, creativity, sustainability and experience. Outreach begins with a Request For Qualification (RFQ), submitted to Northeastern and reviewed by Campus Planning & Real Estate, the Facilities Division, and Project Controls. RFQs are assessed within several categories to determine alignment with Northeastern’s vision and project goals.
Space is a valuable institutional asset that furthers the ambitious and evolving goals of the university. Campus Planning & Real Estate is the steward of the allocation process, assisting University Leadership to effectively assess, align and prioritize space needs. Collaborating with the Provost’s Office, Chancellor’s Office, Finance and others across the University, we strongly believe that integrated planning helps us achieve those goals in the most effective and efficient way for the institution. In doing so we apply principles of good planning, develop multiple options, and consider relevant context, allowing for informed decisions.
Similarly, the university’s Long-Range Plan and Annual Capital Budget are critical in ensuring a stable, comprehensive and responsible capital footing for physical assets and investments, while allowing the critical flexibility our institution to further evolve our transformational global network. Campus Planning & Real Estate supports University leadership in this process through the analysis of short- and long-term space supply and demand, scenario planning for large scale capital renewal, and tailored approaches to real estate leasing and development.
The process for assigning space ensures that all plans align with institutional goals. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is responsible for both the allocation of new or unassigned space, and the re-alignment and reallocation of existing space. Stewarded by Campus Planning and Development, requests for space are submitted through the Space and Capital Project Request (SCPR) form. The SLT, supported by thoughtful scenarios and relevant context, regularly reviews the requests, and decisions are communicated back through leadership within the requester’s reporting structure.
A strong understanding of our space and how it is used is foundational to effective space management. Campus Planning & Real Estate is at the forefront of technology, having established a robust space inventory using the Archibus system. Archibus tracks university buildings and rooms across all of our global locations; space assignments by division and department; and research space by principal investigator. For individual colleges at the University, it can also track occupancy of faculty, staff and graduate students. In addition to supporting our planning activities, the data in the system is critical to the annual Hybrid Budget Model process and federal overhead reimbursement process rate setting proposal.
Our campuses are constantly evolving in tandem with their local context.The Boston campus' landscaped urban oasis attracts both undergraduates and graduates many of whom are looking for a residential experience.Tracking the outdoor assets, and the underground infrastructure that support them is as important as tracking and assessing our interior space.Campus Planning & Real Estate and Facilities Management have partnered to develop an enterprise GIS platform to service the planning, design and maintenance of our facilities and infrastructure.Built on the ESRI platform, our base map is in development and the team is embarking on a site utilities documentation process that will support the university into the future.
Campus Planning & Real Estate has a strong commitment to ensuring that Northeastern University is a sustainable, resilient, and environmentally responsible community. We take pride in our ability to work with members both inside and outside the university to create a campus that is green, resilient, efficient, sustainable, and beautiful. Thoughtful strategic planning is key to the integration of sustainability and resilience principals throughout the design and construction process. Through the use of our NU Design Guidelines, requirements to achieve LEED Gold certification for all major projects, and placemaking, we are able to foster connections and pathways with a diverse cross-section of the campus and surrounding communities to create a rich knowledge-base of processes, procedures, initiatives, and projects that better our environment for all members of the community.
Members of the Campus Planning & Real Estate team work with University leadership and colleagues in the Office of the General Counsel, Business Services, and the Office of City and Community Engagement on strategic assessment of real estate opportunities in Boston and throughout the global network. In Boston this work includes overseeing the Institutional Master Plan, permitting major projects, and identifying opportunities for leasing and development partnerships to meet the University’s demand for space. On other campuses, the team assists with public presentations, test fits and regulatory processes. We also partner with local experts and community leaders to ensure the success of teaching and research.
Northeastern’s Institutional Master Plan, or IMP, is a comprehensive document outlining the University’s existing and proposed land use, community benefits, and future growth. A new one is developed in cooperation with the Boston Planning and Development Agency approximately every 10 years. The current IMP, produced in 2013, is a living document which often incorporates updates and amendments to meet the changing needs of the University and the City. View the current IMP here.
Northeastern is always interested in exploring opportunities for strategic real estate partnerships to help fulfill the University’s mission. This ranges from simply leasing office space, to co-locating classrooms with key business partners, to developing innovative ground lease partnerships such as the one that created 825 new beds of student housing at Lightview, on the Boston campus. If you are interested in opportunities for real estate and development partnerships, please contact us above.
Campus Planning & Real Estate helps the University achieve its physical growth plans by navigating various regulatory environments for existing and new real estate assets across the Northeastern global campus system. Understanding the unique context of each location is critical, so Campus Planning & Real Estate partners with internal and external stakeholders to better understand each environment and community, and to discover opportunities for mutual benefit. The regulatory relationship with the City of Boston is governed by Northeastern’s Institutional Master Plan (see above or click here).
The planning for Northeastern’s 840 Columbus Avenue project is well underway, and the public comment period is open! Visit the new project portal at https://campusplanning.northeastern.edu/840-columbus/ to learn more about the project’s community benefits and design considerations, or to reach out with thoughts and questions.
As Northeastern’s campus grows and changes, it’s the job of campus planners to engage our neighbors and make sure the community is at the table for important discussions about the future. Please join us for our next (virtual) public meeting to learn more about the future of 840 Columbus Avenue, Boston, and to share your […]
The in-house mapping team at Campus Planning and Real Estate has been hard at work on a new tool to help people find their way around the Boston campus. The department is now proud to release this interactive map to the broader University and to the public! Whether you’re looking for the nearest bike share, […]
Design firms with an interest in working with Northeastern should fill out our contact form at this link. We will make sure you receive a Request for Qualifications, which we issue a few times per year. Firms with diversity qualifications are encouraged to contact us.
We work as a team on each project to ensure a thoughtful and holistic approach to campus planning, as well as our real estate and design partnerships. The success of our planning hinges on strong collaboration with many stakeholders to develop project goals and set priorities.
Like experiential learning for our students and research partnerships for our faculty, our campuses are strengthened when we identify mutual interests and innovative ideas in concert with the communities where we have space and programming.
Sustainability + Resiliency
As a key research pillar and vital concern for our campus community, sustainability and resilience practices are actively integrated within our built environment to demonstrate our values as an institution and to reduce our environmental footprint.
We plan for space that can adapt to the rapid pace of change in education, technology and the workforce. Embracing innovation as well as the lessons of the past, we need to be nimble as we plan for physical assets and advise on the long-term impacts of space and design decisions.
Diversity & Inclusion
We know that opportunity isn’t evenly distributed, and we work hard to fulfill Northeastern’s mission of offering accessible, relevant education and preparation for careers that are rewarding and have impact in the world. Principles of fairness and equity underlie this mission as they underlie how we approach our work and our personal interactions.
The university has set ambitious goals in the Northeastern 2025 academic plan, just as each member of our team sets personal goals that allow us to work strategically, set priorities and measure our progress.