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Neighborhood Specific Projects

The transformative projects described on this page represent the overarching vision for each campus neighborhood in alignment with the FutureVU Land Use Guiding Principles.  It is important to keep in mind that the FutureVU Land Use Plan presents a conceptual framework for future development.

Potential building placements outlined in the after images are suggestions, and as the university moves into implementation, plans will be refined and may adjust. The graphics on this page, including shapes for potential buildings, are not designs and should be viewed as representative of potential locations. As decisions are made on upcoming capital projects in alignment with the Academic Strategic Plan and university’s mission, the university will go through a process that takes the 30,000 foot view presented here and refine to final designs.

Given the goals of inclusivity, enhanced community spaces and emphasis on the pedestrian experience, issues of mobility are paramount to achieving the FutureVU land use vision. The university is at an important inflection point and students, faculty and staff have come together as a community to discuss the future of the campus footprint and develop solutions in order to improve sustainability and offer healthier, more flexible ways of traveling.

In order to achieve the vision, the university developed a comprehensive transportation and mobility strategy that calls for the enhancement and addition of a variety of mobility related systems and goals. Implementation of the FutureVU Land Use Plan will evolve over time, so changes on this page will not happen overnight.

 

Historic Core

The Historic Core’s park-like character distinguishes it as one of the most iconic campus neighborhoods. The relationship of legacy buildings, majestic trees and open space provides a ready precedent to apply as enhancement for other neighborhoods. Plans for this area focus on clarification and simplification of existing conditions. One of the primary means for accomplishing this work is integration of the Greenway network.

BEFORE
AFTER
Historic Core Existing Historic Core Proposed

Select Elements of the Transformation:

  • GREENWAY: The shaded lawn that defines the Greenway should be reestablished as an uninterrupted ground plane that allows for clear views to create visual connections to buildings and clarify circulation. The Greenway provides important connections to Curry Field, the Kirkland Esplanade, Alumni Lawn and Library Lawn.  Connecting these spaces with the Greenway will expand options for flexible programming. The Greenway will reach across 21st Avenue to connect the new Graduate Village to the Historic Core and rest of campus.
  • OPEN/GATHERING SPACES: Maximizing the amount of uninterrupted lawn will optimize the usable space of Alumni Lawn, Library Lawn and Curry Field. Selective removal of redundant paths, which currently subdivide open space, will expand the usefulness of these areas.
  • PATHS: The existing “spaghetti” of meandering paths in the Historic Core needs clarification through prioritization.
  • GATEWAYS AND EDGES: Reinforcing and extending the Magnolia Curtain as residential colleges are constructed along West End Avenue will unify the campus edge and create a buffer along the wide, busy street. Shortening the Kirkland Esplanade beyond the formal gateway will encourage cars to pick up and drop off without interrupting pedestrian circulation. The character of the 21st Avenue edge should become more civic and transparent, allowing views and access along its length, facilitating physical and visual connectivity between the main campus, Graduate Village and Peabody. Establishment of a new multi-use path along the campus perimeter at 21st Avenue and West End Avenue, encourages pedestrian and bicycle movement along 21st Avenue, improves connectivity along the edge of campus and brings the character of the Historic Core to the public edge of campus

Read more about efforts along the 21st Avenue edge underway in the Historic Core here.  

 

West End

The key opportunities for improvement of the West End neighborhood are the unrealized potential for inclusion and integration. Consistent with the Academic Strategic Plan’s aim to enhance the undergraduate residential experience, three new  residential colleges  will be constructed along West End Avenue, between 23 rd  and 25 th  Avenues. The construction involved with the new residential colleges provides a unique opportunity to consider the West End neighborhood holistically. The university will have the opportunity to consider how a variety of student groups will be engaged within the neighborhood, including IFC, Panhellenic, NPHC, Multicultural Leadership Council, and other student groups. The end goal is to beautify, enhance and make more inclusive and accessible the West End neighborhood.

BEFORE
AFTER
West End Existing West End Proposed

Select Elements of the Transformation:

  • GREENWAY/GATHERING SPACES: The parking and alleys between Kensington Place and Vanderbilt Place provide an opportunity for a new public green space that can be used by all students as a main open space along the Greenway path in the West End neighborhood. This new green space provides opportunities to expand the arboretum within West End. A new frontage for residential colleges is also an opportunity for public space. Paths and plantings connect these colleges to the rest of the neighborhood. Visual connections to Athletics, and paths connecting to Central and the Historic Core will strengthen pedestrian connections to adjacent neighborhoods.
  • STREET NETWORK AND ACCESS: Street improvements in the West End neighborhood focus on re-purposing parking and alleys for public gathering space. Limiting vehicular presence in this part of campus reconnects it to the Central, Athletics and Historic Core neighborhoods. Street transformations are categorized into three main typologies including limited access streets, reinforced pedestrian paths and reclaimed pedestrian spaces.
  • BIKES AND PEDESTRIANS: The implementation of limited access streets and pathway conversions will dramatically improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility in the neighborhood. A network of sidewalks and pathways throughout the neighborhood will provide expanded walkability and an uninterrupted connection to the Historic Core. The combination of limited access streets with sidewalks and pathways will provide more dedicated space for both pedestrians and cyclists.

The university has moved from the initial FutureVU conceptual framework into design in this neighborhood, as one of the first steps to implementing the FutureVU vision. Read more about efforts underway, along with updated designs, in the West End neighborhood here.

 

Central

The Central neighborhood is the geographic center of the campus and is the crossroads between the north/south and east/west legs of the Greenway, making it a critical component for connecting the other neighborhoods of the campus. The Greenway will play a large role in linking this central area to the rest of the campus, all of which is within a ten-minute walk. A new, significant open space and amphitheater will create a vibrant space for social gathering and draw the Vanderbilt community to the Central neighborhood.

BEFORE
AFTER
Central Existing Central Proposed

Select Elements of the Transformation:

  • GREENWAY: The Greenway is a central feature of this neighborhood and represents a linear open space to frame new building locations and allow for clarity of movement. These improvements will transform this part of the campus into a lively, pedestrian activated hub. The Garland Avenue corridor, along the southern boundary of the Central neighborhood, will be an important east/west branch of the Greenway, providing access for a wide range of users and ideally re-purposed as a pedestrian-friendly shared use condition.
  • OPEN/GATHERING SPACES: Redevelopment within this neighborhood provides an opportunity to introduce a new, central open space on the scale of Alumni Lawn, expanding the network of large open spaces beyond the Historic Core and Peabody neighborhoods. This open space is the site for a potential new amphitheater to support educational and social events. The amphitheater is topographically designed to accommodate small and large gatherings with a southwest orientation and provides screening of the Central Plant. The landform also helps to manage local stormwater within the neighborhood.
  • GATEWAYS AND EDGES: As the geographic center of campus, the Garland Avenue/25th Avenue intersection sits at a very important moment of transition. It is the crossroads of the main north/south and east/west branches of the Greenway, and the point where the shift of metro Nashville’s street gird orientation is resolved on campus. This key internal campus intersection has the potential to highlight major moments of arrival and transition between campus neighborhoods.
  • BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES: FutureVU calls for redevelopment of aging Central neighborhood buildings and quads to provide space for congregation and circulation through the geographic center of campus. Potential future building spaces for academic/research buildings and/or residential colleges are identified. The physical intrusion of the electrical substation, Central Plant and high voltage lines will be eased through architectural and landscape screening. A portion of the Bryan Building will be removed to create an open, green space behind the Vaughan home and Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.

The university has moved from the initial FutureVU conceptual framework into design in this neighborhood, as one of the first steps to implementing the FutureVU vision. Read more about efforts underway in the Central neighborhood here.

 

Highland

Removing of the 25th Avenue Garage and the above-grade portion of the West Garage will immediately alleviate the literal isolation of this neighborhood, providing visual and spatial connections north to Central and south to the Blair School of Music. Redevelopment of the entire block will provide an opportunity to engage with the natural topography through organic site-responsive building placement. Additionally, the site’s potential for flooding will be addressed with a stormwater treatment and detention feature. This feature will showcase the water and surrounds as a small park for social gatherings and provide the opportunity to function as an educational demonstration landscape.

BEFORE
AFTER
Highland Existing Highland Proposed

Select Elements of the Transformation:

  • GREENWAY: The north/south Greenway path extends from Blair School of Music, through the Highland quad’s shaded courtyard, along the edge of the reflecting pool and across Garland Avenue. The Greenway will thus draw this important education facility (Blair) back into the campus open space network and link it through efficient circulation into the campus core. The Greenway will function as a redefined streetscape condition along 25th Avenue, hugging the western edge of the block and expanding spatially to interact with courtyards, the natural landform and the water feature as it links to Central. Activating the edges with furnishings and paths that respond to topography and desire lines will connect the Greenway to buildings and open spaces.
  • STORMWATER & OPEN/GATHERING SPACES: The existing swale extending from the southeast to northwest across Highland acts as a major campus-wide drainage path. Removal of the 25th Avenue Garage and redevelopment of Highland allows this low point to be enhanced as a series of retention and detention pools to mitigate flooding, filter stormwater and remove sediment, transforming the space into an iconic campus destination. The presence of groundwater, which is pumped out of the West Garage basement at a rate of 250 gallons per minute, could be utilized as a resource to maintain a permanent reflecting pool at the lowest level of the tiered pool system. This feature, directly accessible from the Greenway, will also provide opportunities for social gathering, relaxation, quiet respite and research in addition to its stormwater function. The open lawn adjacent to the swale creates visual connections into the reflecting pool, provides a frontage for the adjacent buildings, and frames views to the campus beyond.
  • BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES: Removing the 25th Avenue Garage and the above-grade portion of the West Garage will allow this neighborhood to be redeveloped with buildings that more appropriately engage with the natural topography and potential for views to the main campus. Thoughtful placement of new buildings relative to the Greenway will strengthen this block as a viable component of the Greenway network and the built fabric of the campus. Potential future building spaces for academic/research buildings and/or residential colleges are identified in a manner to create lawns and courtyards that connect them to the land and to the Greenway.

 

Peabody

Connections from Peabody to the main campus will be strengthened both at and above grade. The at-grade crossings of 21st Avenue at Edgehill and Medical Center Drive will be enhanced to be safer and more pleasant. A new grade-separated bridge, as part of the Greenway system, will create a direct connection between the heart of the Peabody lawns and the main campus.  This bridge – “The Vandy Highline” – will be experienced as an elevated linear park; wide enough to safely accommodate pedestrians and bikes, and landscaped with trees so that it is perceived as an extension of the Peabody Esplanade and Magnolia Lawn.

BEFORE
AFTER
Peabody Existing Peabody Proposed

Select Elements of the Transformation:

  • GREENWAY/GATHERING SPACES: One of the key functions of the Greenway at Peabody is to strengthen and clarify connectivity across 21st Avenue, to and from the main campus. The primary point of connectivity is proposed as a wide, tree-planted bridge, the Vandy Highline described below.  FutureVU also recommends converting Magnolia Circle to open space and pathway corridors, as it is currently a highly utilized area and pathway used by pedestrians. Daycare and research facility drop off points will remain, and open, green space is proposed behind the Commons Center.
  • PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE/HIGHLINE CONCEPT: A grade-separated pedestrian/bicycle bridge provides the best and safest option to improve pedestrian/cyclist connectivity and continuity of campus character through the Medical Center to and from Peabody. A pedestrian bridge must meet basic functional requirements to be effective. These requirements include accessibility, adequate pathway width, logical take-off points and necessary clearance over roads and utilities. A standard pedestrian bridge can be functional, but the Highline concept offers enhanced opportunities to establish continuity of campus character. The bridge concept takes advantage of high-elevation points for take-off locations near Eskind Library and Peabody Library. Feasibility for a new bridge through the Medical Center depends on minimal impacts to Medical Center Drive.

The university has moved from the initial FutureVU conceptual framework into design in this neighborhood, as one of the next steps to implementing the FutureVU vision. Read more about efforts underway, along with updated designs, in the Peabody neighborhood here.

 

Graduate Village

The establishment of a new Graduate Village will provide much needed housing and support facilities for Vanderbilt’s graduate and professional students. The proposed location is ideal as it is in close proximity to the Historic Core and graduate schools of Law and Owen, as well as within walking distance of additional graduate schools. Revitalizing this underutilized real estate will also create an opportunity for safer and more visual and physical connections across 21st Avenue. Significant green space will allow the Graduate Village to feel in keeping with the character of the Historic Core. This neighborhood is also a potential site for a mini transportation hub.

BEFORE
AFTER
Grad Existing Grad Proposed

Select Elements of the Transformation:

  • GREENWAY/GATEWAYS & EDGES: A connection will be established between the Historic Core and Graduate Village via the primary Greenway path that continues between Wilson Hall and Warren and Moore residential colleges. The existing crossing should be enhanced to allow for safe, strong visual connection to continue across 21st Avenue and along Terrace Place. Establishment of a new multi-use path at the 21st Avenue perimeter will provide for secondary connections at Wilson Hall, the Law School and Owen. A means of reestablishing the historic gateway location at Broadway should be studied. Vanderbilt should coordinate with Metro Nashville Transportation Planning and Public Works departments to reduce the number of travel lanes on 21st Avenue and/or explore a Complete Streets concept.
  • MULTI-MODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER: Metro Nashville’s nMotion Plan recommends a transit center in the vicinity of the Graduate Village. A multi-modal transportation hub in or near the Graduate Village could provide a logical destination for the campus shuttle system on the north side of the campus and a strong connection with regional public transportation services.

Read more about graduate and professional student housing efforts underway here.

 

Triangle

Pedestrian circulation along the Vanderbilt Place parking lot is currently disconnected from the rest of campus. A lack of pedestrian sidewalks leading to and through this space long with existing grade challenges creates a significant divide between parking and user destinations. Transformation of the Triangle focuses on pedestrian connectivity to and from Athletics, pedestrian safety and comfort, stormwater management, reduction of heat island effect, efficient vehicular circulation and maximizing parking capacity.

BEFORE
AFTER
Triangle Existing Triangle Proposed

Select Elements of the Transformation:

  • GREENWAY: The east/west branch of the Greenway will cross Natchez Trave at Jess Neely Drive and continue along the south side of Vanderbilt Place to 31st Avenue. Pedestrian circulation paths from the surface parking lot extend north to tie into the Greenway. The internal campus intersection where Natchez Trace meets Jess Neely Drive is a major collection point for pedestrians and vehicles and has the potential to highlight a moment of arrival and transition between campus neighborhoods.
  • STREET NETWORK & ACCESS: Vehicular movement is currently a primary function of this neighboorhood. FutureVU’s goal is to organize circulation for maximum efficiency, stormwater management and minimal pedestrian/vehicular overlap. While keeping the existing curb cuts, the parking lot is reorganized into logical parking bays with central tree planting and an infiltration strip to capture stormwater and provide consistent shade. Parking bays are oriented perpendicular to existing grade in order to maximize stormwater capture. Main pedestrian circulation is directed to the edge of the parking lot to facilitate movement via the east/west Greenway.
  • MULTI-MODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER: The Triangle neighborhood is a logical location to address some of the parking demand that will be displaced from other parts of campus. To support greater reliance on remote parking for the university, the campus shuttle system will need to provide reliable transportation for commuters parking in the Triangle neighborhood. A planned multi-modal transportation center in the Triangle will provide a common location for commuters to board campus shuttles. A multi-modal transportation center should also provide connectivity to other forms of alternative transportation. A bikeshare station location within the transportation center would provide another mobility option for commuters and transit riders. Covered and secure bicycle parking should also be provided, along with a bicycle maintenance shop.

 

Athletics

Changes in the Athletics neighborhood focus on creation of gathering space to accommodate large crowds and promote school spirit. Many of the fields and program spaces accessed by the public have main entrances along Jess Neely. Working with metro Nashville to designate this road as a limited use condition, similar to Garland Avenue, allows this space to be reclaimed as a major pedestrian plaza.

BEFORE
AFTER
Athletics Existing Athletics Proposed

Select Elements of the Transformation:

  • GREENWAY: The east/west Greenway travels along Jess Neely Drive to connect Athletics and the Triangle with the rest of campus. Connectivity between the stadia, fields and other activity-specific hubs within Athletics are the focus of secondary and tertiary paths.
  • STREET NETWORK & ACCESS: Two major projects are proposed for the Athletics neighborhood. Both projects will require coordination with metro Nashville Transportation Planning and Public Works departments in order to implement. The first project creates a limited use condition along Jess Neely, similar to Garland Avenue, allowing opportunities for plaza space and pedestrian movement. This extends pedestrian circulation across the east/west axis of campus from the Triangle neighborhood to Peabody and completes the east/west leg of the Greenway. The second project addresses the 25th Avenue corridor. Ideally, the street will be narrowed by removing the center turn lane to provide a verge with street trees as a buffer for pedestrians and dedicated bicycle facilities.