Transit hubs and bicycle paths to encourage a more streamlined, environmentally sustainable university. Pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares linking campus and city. Landmark buildings to serve as gateways to Rutgers. The phrase “master plan” sounds lofty, and that’s as it should be. A master plan isn’t a design for this year, or even this decade. It’s for the future, for posterity—for the kids and grandkids who might go to Rutgers. And with a new physical master plan, the university is taking the long view and envisioning the Rutgers of the future.

Rutgers 2030—the master plan contained in three volumes of information for transforming Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–Camden, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences—provides maps, photographs, diagrams, charts, and concrete ideas for improving the college experience; creating a more efficient, sustainable environment; and enhancing collaboration between Rutgers and its host cities and regions. Rutgers 2030 covers every aspect of the physical environment, from buildings to streetscapes, over the next 15 years. 

Rutgers 2030 (created with the help of consultants Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Sasaki Associates) doesn’t whitewash the problems, and it’s not about quick fixes. Instead, the plan acknowledges the challenges and finds ways to address them. “This is all about the student experience,” Antonio Calcado, vice president for University Facilities and Capital Planning, says of Rutgers 2030. “It’s not a coffee-table book. It’s a vibrant, living document that reflects the realities of not only where we are, but also where we want to go.

To learn more about Rutgers 2030, visit

Rendering of future Rutgers New Brunswick Campus


A tree-lined quad, extending from the College Avenue Gymnasium to a new George Street transit hub, is a key plan for Rutgers University–New Brunswick.


Walk along the tree-lined pathways of Voorhees Mall or past the gates leading to Old Queens, and you know you’re in a place teeming with history. Stone markers signal the year of Rutgers’ founding: 1766. Rutgers is a university with real connections to the nation’s revolutionary past. The downside? Rutgers University–New Brunswick consists of multiple campuses, in multiple municipalities, and the buildings, roadways, and other infrastructure have been developed over many, many years—sometimes with careful planning and sometimes with inadequate planning. A river runs through Rutgers–New Brunswick, literally. So does a highway or two. Historic yes, but it’s a history with challenges.

The New Brunswick volume of Rutgers 2030 is impressive in its forthright understanding of the challenges and in crafting enterprising, innovative solutions. The big problem? The size and complexity of the place—essentially a small city—have “led to an overall lack of legibility for the campus as a whole,” as Rutgers 2030 notes. Through a wholesale rethinking of how students move around campus and a renewed connection to the Raritan River, the plan would make Rutgers–New Brunswick a more navigable, cohesive place, with environmental  sustainability as a central focus.

“This master plan reimagines Rutgers University–New Brunswick with the goal of significant improvements to the student experience,” says Richard L. Edwards, the chancellor of Rutgers–New Brunswick. “Proposals for new transit hubs, bicycle paths, and a pedestrian bridge over the river would help students spend less time on buses and have a richer college experience.”

One key element would be a new tree-lined quad, extending from the College Avenue Gymnasium to a new George Street transit hub and on to Deiner Park. Brower Commons? Hardenbergh Hall? They’d be demolished under this plan. The quad’s iconic lawn would be flanked by a new campus center, cultural center, and classrooms.

At the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, part of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), an addition to the pharmacy building will provide the school with a new atrium, classrooms, a patient simulation suite, and additional lab space. “The master plan will guide our thinking as we encourage collaboration across RBHS and throughout a number of the undergraduate schools as well,” says Brian Strom, chancellor of RBHS. “We understand how important it is to have the appropriate facilities in place to enhance our academic strengths.”

The changes reflect the willingness to transform Rutgers–New Brunswick. And already, changes are under way with the recent completion of the new residential Honors College and ongoing construction of a new academic building and a housing-and-retail complex.

Rendering of future Rutgers Newark Campus


College Walk—a pedestrian corridor integrating renovated buildings and open spaces—would connect Rutgers University–Newark to Newark’s Military Park.


Anyone visiting Rutgers University–Newark knows it  is a vibrant, lively place—a university with the nation’s most diverse student body thriving in a city undergoing a cultural and corporate renaissance. Collective engagement with the city of Newark is central to the university’s mission,  yet it’s a mission requiring physical spaces to encourage dialogue and partnerships. If there’s one theme running through the Newark volume of Rutgers 2030, it is the determination to embrace the Newark community and bring together campus and city—and to ensure that the university (and the city) has the physical resources to make this happen. 

College Walk—a pedestrian corridor, with both buildings and open spaces—would connect Rutgers–Newark to Newark’s Military Park. Existing buildings, such as Paul Robeson Campus Center and Dana Library, would be  renovated to integrate their environments to College Walk. “College Walk aims to create a more permeable, connective link through the campus, with visually and physically open ground-floor environments that showcase  continuous learning and interaction,” according to the plan.

Rutgers University–Newark is already making progress. In one project, the city’s Hahne’s building, formerly a department store, is being redeveloped with a Whole Foods on the ground floor, residential units, and Express Newark—an arts incubator bringing together Rutgers–Newark studio artists, printmakers, photographers, and other creative talent with community arts and culture organizations and local schools.

“Like the Rutgers University–Newark  strategic plan, our master plan is designed to cultivate inclusive excellence and high-impact collaborative scholarship,” says Nancy Cantor, the chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark. “Projects like Life Sciences II, 15 Washington Street, Express Newark, the Honors Living-Learning Community, and our new transit hub will help attract and retain cutting-edge talent while weaving Rutgers University–Newark and Newark more seamlessly together.”

Rendering of future Camden site


With a brick design and landscaping, North Third Street would be transformed into a pedestrian-friendly corridor linking different parts of Rutgers University–Camden.



Rutgers University–Camden is in an urban setting, but when you step onto campus, you notice something else: it is a campus that’s intimate and close-knit, with an abundance of greenery. It’s also decidedly walkable: once you’re on campus, there’s no need to hop on a bus or get in your car. You’re not about to get lost at Rutgers–Camden. You know where you are.

That essential characteristic remains true in every vision of growth for Rutgers–Camden. As Rutgers 2030 notes, the university needs to expand its facilities to accommodate growing enrollments in southern New Jersey and to strengthen its appearance while maintaining the nurturing environment valued by students and the campus community.

To support strategic increases in student enrollment and faculty research, the plan envisions the construction of a new business school building to meet rising demand for programs, a new science research facility, and a new welcome center to introduce prospective students and their families to the university. Renovations along Cooper Street would help anchor the campus and define its boundaries. Other changes, such as a new building north of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, with playing fields on the roof, would help to deepen the campus’s robust connections with the city.

And although Rutgers–Camden benefits from a lively, verdant quad, the connections from that campus core to the rest of Rutgers–Camden need strengthening. The solution? By repaving North Third Street with a curbless brick design and landscaping, the street would be transformed into a pedestrian-friendly corridor linking different portions of the campus.

“This plan provides a framework for our growth as a first-rate educational environment while also maintaining our unique, nurturing environment,” says Phoebe A. Haddon, the chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden.  “By reaching beyond the current physical boundaries of the campus, this master plan also strengthens Rutgers’ ability to be an agent of positive change in the region.” •