Impact of campus physical characteristics on university sustainability performance




Beyaztas, Halit

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There has been increasing attention and effort for campus sustainability practices from governmental and non-governmental organizations because of its proven negative effect on environment, strong influence on society, and huge economic power on market. Those efforts and activities include campus recycling, sustainable transportation in campus, and eco-efficient (green) campus buildings, etc... Those practices directly related to individual campuses, and the purpose was to rehabilitate them to achieve sustainability in a single campus. Since there has been a progress for campus sustainability effort, a parallel question appears? Which campus model performs better for sustainability? In other words, do certain campus physical characteristics such as urban density, residential character, and population have any influence on campus sustainability performance? This is a necessary question to answer because it is not only related directly to campus sustainability internal issues (individual campus sustainability practices) but also related to external sustainability issues (regional and city sustainability practices), such as the urban density of city, density of downtown and university, location of a campus in the city, and campus population. These important factors matter while considering city sustainability because higher education institutes have huge influence on cities economically, socially, and environmentally. Although this study is not able to cover all of the those components, this research intends to identify certain campus physical characteristics (urban density, residential character, and population) on campus sustainability performance and reveal a pattern, if there is one, by using STARS campus sustainability assessment tool database as a benchmark to conduct a correlational study. For this correlational study, 58 sample campuses across the US are going to be investigated. The dependent comparison factor is going to be final STARS sustainability score. The results of this correlational study will reveal optimum campus physical characteristics (the ideal location for campuses in cities, the optimum residential character, and effective population scope) for campus, city, and regional sustainability purpose. Proposed results of study will be quite informing for existing and future campus decision making mechanisms as well as city urban planning and designing departments, since campuses are an effective part of cities and communities, in order to achieve desired sustainable society goal.


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