Sewanee: the University of the South owns more than 13,000 acres called the Domain located on the Cumberland Plateau, more than 90 percent of which consists of Southern Appalachian forest. This is among the most diverse forest types in the United States and one of the largest unbroken expanses of hardwood-forested plateaus in the world. As an academic institution devoted to learning and knowledge, the University has committed to act as a model of environmental sustainability – including stewardship of natural areas, promotion of environmentally sensitive landscaping practices, and use of Smart Growth land use planning techniques as described in detail in the University’s 2013 Sustainability Master Plan.
Sewanee Village currently consists of a retail and office strip on University Avenue connecting the University campus to US Route 41A. The Village has been designated by the University as one of three future development focus areas in the Campus Master Plan, also including the Core Campus and the School of Theology. The University envisions redevelopment of Sewanee Village as a mixed-use, walkable, vibrant place, with better connections to the Core Campus. The Village Implementation Plan, completed by Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative (TPUDC) in 2016, produced a design framework for the Village Core.
The 2016 Sewanee Village Implementation Plan builds upon the Sewanee Vision Plan and the Sewanee Action Plan and provides specific planning interventions and strategies to guide redevelopment of the Village and the greater Domain. The goal of this Plan is to enhance connections between the University of the South and the Sewanee Village, and to ensure the long-term viability of the Village by creating a mixed-use environment that integrates new businesses, civic spaces, and housing into the existing Village fabric. The Implementation Plan seeks to make the Sewanee Village a regional model for sustainable redevelopment.
The directive of this project is to evolve the 2016 Village Implementation Plan to the next level of detail, melding a more detailed assessment of on-the-ground existing conditions with the University’s sustainability principles as well as the vision for Sewanee Village as a vibrant, mixed-use center. The University convened a stakeholder group including TPUDC, University subject matter experts, and local business owners to provide input and guide the project throughout.
The University and stakeholder group collaborated to develop the following guiding principles as an overarching framework for evolution of the Village Implementation Plan:
Filter + Store
To mitigate the effects of additional runoff resulting from proposed development, demonstrate the application of Light Imprint site planning techniques and green infrastructure BMPs to naturally filter, infiltrate, and store runoff.
Provide a range of land planning and stormwater solutions calibrated to the Domain’s natural context, “softer edge” aesthetic to artfully compliment the urban design vision for Sewanee Village.
Artfully incorporate environmental design into Sewanee Village respecting the area’s built and natural character. Utilize green stormwater infrastructure as placemaking elements and educational amenities.
Encourage implementation of highly visible, forward-thinking approaches as a demonstration of the University’s commitment to sustainability and learning.
Demonstrate realistic, cost-effective, and constructible nature-based solutions with a focus on long-term maintenance requirements.