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Space Principles

Space Provision.

The aim is to provide sufficient space to meet the essential needs of students, staff, partners and visitors to conduct University activities, whilst using facilities efficiently to optimise the growth of research and education. In pursuit of equality and inclusion space is provided based on the needs of people, their activities, their wellbeing and inclusion, not upon any hierarchical rational. Whilst the environments provided need to support the delivery of excellence for our people in their work, we will also proactively seek opportunities to organise activities effectively and reduce waste.

Academic Identities and Sharing.

We recognise the value of reinforcing academic identities and supporting a sense of belonging, inclusion, and wellbeing in staff and students, particularly through the visibility of academic and cultural activities and artefacts. Meanwhile the sharing of space and pooling of common facilities also unlocks economies of scale, can allow significant efficiency gains to be made, and most importantly enhances interdisciplinarity and serendipitous exchanges. We can gain synergies and efficiencies by organising equipment thematically. Wherever possible we will maximise opportunities to share between research groups and with industry partners. Showcasing specialist facilities is especially valuable for engagement activities.

Collaboration, Social Interaction and Wellbeing.

It is recognised that a university is a place for the exchange of ideas, the exploration of ideologies, the challenging of philosophies and concepts and the meeting of minds. Allocations and design briefs support the provision of environments which maximise interdisciplinary conversation, and support social interaction. The variety of spaces and facilities we provide also plays an important role in supporting the inclusion and wellbeing of our diverse communities, and the needs of individuals with a range of circumstances.

Space Ownership and Allocation.

All space is owned by the University, and allocated to be used for education, research, administration, commercial and social activities, to give the optimum overall support to delivering the strategic objectives of the University. As we grow and activities change, we will work collaboratively with stakeholders to identify mutually beneficial solutions. We will prioritise allocations for maximum net gain. Space may be reallocated or reconfigured through a partnership approach as needs change over time.

Teaching and Learning Space.

We will provide a range of formal and informal learning environments to suit different learning styles. Our teaching spaces will be orientated towards supporting active, participatory and inclusive learning practices. Non-specialist teaching spaces are centrally controlled and shared across the institution. As pedagogy changes towards increasingly blended models the balance between formal teaching & learning space, informal group learning, and individual quiet or silent study, with their appropriate technology requirements will need to flex to support demand. In designing new teaching spaces consideration is given to total demand for spaces (considering format, group size and number of rooms) and existing university-wide provision.

Study Space.

We actively encourage students to come to campus to study. This is one of the strong propositions of choosing a campus university. We will work to understand the demand for the activities to be conducted and to provide appropriate spaces. A variety of spaces will provide scholars with a choice of study spaces in both centrally managed and supported environments, and spaces which reinforce departmental or faculty identities. The provision of learning commons which are open and accessible to all is supported to promote social interaction, interdisciplinary collaboration and inclusion.

Exploring Workspace Models.

Sufficient suitable space is provided for academic and non-academic use, supporting focussed work, use of specialist facilities, for meeting with students and for collaborating with colleagues and visitors, and delivery of other services. Models other than single office allocation are used to support the transition to more sustainable approaches to workspace. A Hybrid Working Policy Statement and Principles are being developed which encourages staff to work more flexibly with a greater emphasis placed on new working practices to optimise productivity and wellbeing, and prioritising the spaces required to support the delivery of face-to-face activities.

Shared Responsibility.

A reduction of the size of the estate and carbon emissions as the University continues to grow is a complex challenge to embrace, and one for which all parts of the University share responsibility. CSAG works across the institution planning for the overall optimisation of delivery of services with a reduced estate footprint. University activities have different space requirements. We will use space budgeting mechanisms to evaluate how much space is required for current and projected activities. Plans are developed in partnership with departments to help them to deliver efficiencies within realistic timescales. Further space may not necessarily be provided at current utilisation rates, where benchmarking or analysis reveals that more efficient use of existing space is feasible.

Strategic planning and decision making.

Space, carbon reduction requirements and embodied carbon considerations are factored into capital investment decisions and integrated within annual strategic planning processes. In considering business cases for new buildings the total gross cost to the University shall be considered, including accounting for the continued use and maintenance of vacated buildings. Whilst planning for growth is essential, options including interim sharing of buildings will be considered, to avoid expansion beyond current needs. Under normal circumstances old parts of the estate which no longer meet contemporary condition or functionality requirements will be replaced and decommissioned or refurbished, to reduce carbon emissions, manage maintenance liabilities and facilitate investment in a smaller footprint of higher quality spaces.