Green and Gold - UCI Landscape Policy
Landscape features can provide the most memorable visual image of a campus and represent a significant physical asset. Recognizing the importance of this resource to UCI, in 1995 former Chancellor Laurel Wilkening directed a critical review of campus landscape planning, implementation, and management objectives. The resulting "Green and Gold Plan" identifies ways to better manage existing campus landscape assets and provides direction for future development of landscaping that is environmentally suitable, more sustainable given natural and financial resource constraints, and that better addresses campus planning and design objectives.
Background & General Planning Concepts
- The natural character and beauty of the rolling hills and the magnificent views should be maintained and selectively enhanced.
- Existing canyons and drainage ways should be used to form greenbelts and windbreaks, and to tie the Central Campus to the outlying areas of the University community.
- The landscape character of the academic quads should be more formal and urban, in contrast to the more informal areas between them (open space corridors, buffers and central park).
- The campus should be landscaped as an "arboretum," utilizing an extensive plant palette that is developed to include a wide variety of species, both exotics and native, that are environmentally suitable to the site conditions.
- Emphasis on the use of native and drought tolerant species, particularly in outer campus areas.
- Development of open space corridors as habitat linkages as well as open space amenities for the campus.
- Continued use of landscape buffers at the campus perimeter and to physically separate land uses.
- Theme planting palettes specific to each academic quad in order to achieve individual place identity.
- A more comprehensive treatment of outdoor spaces including hardscape, street furnishings, and plant materials to achieve a unified urban design.
Goals and Objectives
- Water Conservation—Utilize plant materials, design and planting techniques, and irrigation systems that minimize water usage.
- Plant Suitability—Use native and other environmentally suitable plant materials.
- Species and Age Diversity—Ensure both diversity of species and diversity of age in the urban forest. Trees of the same size and age tend to decline and die during the same period causing costly planning and maintenance problems and necessitating long periods of re-growth.
- De-Intensification of Eucalyptus Trees—Remove existing eucalyptus trees due to hazards or decline and replace with native and drought tolerant species which will introduce age diversity in the central campus.
- Habitat Value—Utilize native plant materials that provide high wildlife foraging value.
- Habitat and Open Space Linkages—Develop habitat corridors utilizing UCI's historic drainage ways, or arroyos, that connect the campus with regional open space areas such as the San Joaquin Hills and the wetland areas of the Upper Newport Bay, San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh, and San Diego Creek. Protect existing habitat resources. Restore, as networks of corridors and habitat sites, the isolated patches and discontinuous landscape corridors that were created under the original LRDP development. This will benefit the campus and also support regional habitat planning goals.
- Preservation—Preserve natural features and environmentally significant areas. Retain the character of campus topography, ridge lines, view sheds, and vistas. Preserve historic landscape.
- Maximize Functionality—Multiple functions, beyond aesthetic considerations, must be provided: define spaces, provide solar shading, define circulation elements, provide visual screening, reduce scale of monumental campus buildings, create public open spaces, and provide recreational amenities.
- Design Consistency—Implement campus landscape that is consistent with, and supports, campus planning and design objectives to provide a unifying framework, place identity, and human scale to the campus.
- Institutional Quality—Utilize plant materials, hardscape, and street furniture of institutional quality (i.e., long-lived, pest resistant, and durable).
- Pruning—Prune to remove hazards and to improve vigor and aesthetics.
- Fertilization—Environmentally responsible nutrient management to maintain plant health and reduce susceptibility to pests, diseases, and environmental stresses.
- Inspection—Scheduled inspections for overall health, safety, and appearance.
- Removal and Replacement—Even with good tree management, all trees will ultimately decline and require replacement. When removals are required, they are evaluated within these criteria: 1) dead or dying trees; 2) trees that pose a hazard to people or may cause significant damage to buildings, property, or hardscape; and 3) trees growing in undesirable locations.
- Protection—Control disease and pests through an integrated and environmentally responsible pest management program. Protect from physical hazards.
- Green Waste—To minimize waste and meet solid waste regulatory requirements, all trimmings should be processed into mulch and used to control weeds, control erosion, retain soil moisture, and provide nutrients.
- Habitat Areas—While habitat areas will generally require far less ongoing maintenance than more urban landscape areas, special management is required for protection of habitat value and for teaching and research activities in these areas.
Implementation PlanThroughout the campus, landscaping will be implemented in various ways. Since the availability of funding is limited and is likely to remain so, it is critical that all landscape development be closely managed. UCI must provide an advocacy role and take advantage of every opportunity to actively pursue tree grant programs, volunteer tree planting efforts, fund raising, and other support to implement the campus landscape program. Implementation opportunities include the following: Landscape elements of individual capital projects. These projects undergo review by campus staff for conformance with campus design guidelines and standards. Examples include:
- Arroyo Vista Housing—native and drought tolerant planting
- California Avenue—native and drought tolerant planting
- West Campus Habitat Corridor
- University Hills Riparian Corridor
- East Campus Riparian Corridor
- Irvine Ranch Water District "Operation Outreach" native planting and irrigation retrofit projects, such as the California Avenue Habitat Corridor
- State Urban Forestry Native Tree Grant Program
- Berkeley Avenue Native Tree Planting
- State Highway Landscape Grant Program
- Small/Minority Business Landscape Grant Program
- University Drive Slope Habitat Planting
- University Hills Community Park
- Ongoing tree management program:
- Central campus eucalyptus tree removal and pruning program
- Bridge Road tree removals
- Campus Village eucalyptus tree removals
(Note: All tree removals are reviewed by the Director of Campus & Environmental Planning, a licensed landscape architect, and are to be accompanied by replanting of appropriate trees to achieve replacement and age diversity.)
- Irrigation Water Management Program
- Integrated Biological Pesticide Management Plan
- Green Waste Recycling Program