It’s about more than the buildings.

It’s about the place. Master planning, campus planning and urban design can fundamentally change the center of gravity in a city, community or campus, providing a long-term vision and strategy for growth.

In order to understand a city or campus – really understand it – we start by asking questions. We ask about the values and the places, sentiment and opportunities. We observe and analyze, looking to the authenticity that already exists to uncover the spirit of place and moments of connectivity. We find the answers to the biggest, most important questions that define a master plan or campus plan are often right there waiting to be uncovered the existing fabric.

Our technical expertise and proven ability to manage complex groups involved allows us to address the constraints and focus on the unique challenges, shifting the community dialogue to what that district, city or campus can become. Understanding these technicalities gives us the freedom of creativity. Communities and campus experiences have changed from our planners’ ideas around powerful placemaking for long-term growth. In cities across the globe like London, Sydney, Brisbane, Denver and Pittsburgh, and on more than 120 university campuses, Populous’ integrated planning staff has used their unique process and technical expertise to uncover a community’s assets and connect them for an experience that brings positive change and a foundation for the future. With more than 20 experts across offices around the globe, Populous’ planning team provides thoughtful campus planning, urban design, landscape architecture and master planning for clients of all sizes.


London 2012 Masterplan

London 2012 has fast-tracked years of urban regeneration into just a decade: an industrial wasteland has been transformed into a new urban park; the lives of the local community will be radically improved through the provision of new housing, schools, shops, sports facilities and employment. And of course the Games themselves, thanks to meticulous planning, should be remembered as uniquely spectacular.

Melbourne Olympic Park Masterplan

CHALLENGE. Populous was commissioned (with a local architect) to develop and reinvigorate the existing Melbourne Park with a vision for the Australian Open to 2030. The Victorian Government wanted to maintain Melbourne as Australia’s premier sporting city and, beyond that, as one of the world’s leading event cities, so the masterplan had to take account of the changing demands of hosting major sporting events, as well as provide more comfortable climatic conditions for players and spectators.

INNOVATION. Large, shaded public squares will provide entertainment zones for spectators, as well as much-needed shelter and shade as they move between venues. For the players, moving roofs and other environmental control systems around the courts will temper the climate and make it more suitable for play. A new court ladder will define circulation routes, organising the landscape into an enjoyable, easy to navigate space.

IMPACT. By providing a new 16,000 seat centre court, new media facilities and a National Tennis Academy, the masterplan has ensured that the Complex will retain its position as a host for Grand Slam Tennis. More broadly, it positions the state of Victoria and the city of Melbourne as global sports leaders.

Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Masterplan

CHALLENGE. For the 10th China National Games in October 2005, Populous designed and built the Nanjing Sports Park in Jiangsu Province, one of the largest athletic venue projects ever completed in Asia. Revisiting the city to create a masterplan for the Youth Olympic Games offers a fascinating opportunity to build on that previous relationship and see how the existing buildings can be knitted into a new structure. Without the need to create major stadia or other sporting buildings, Nanjing throws up a one-off canvas against which to plan a new piece of city.

INNOVATION. The Olympic City in Nanjing will be the start of the development of the southern part of the Hexi district – the structures and facilities required for the Youth Olympic Games form part of this larger vision for the city as a whole. Thus, unusually, legacy comes first: we’re trying to create a living, thriving city – a city that for 2 weeks in 2014 will host an Olympic event.

IMPACT. Our masterplan will create a new piece of city along the waterfront. The mixed use development, which includes schools and exhibition centres alongside Olympic venues and athletes’ accommodation, will make it a destination venue, giving the vibrant city of Nanjing a new hub, as well as the capacity to act as host to a major event.

When Populous designers first walked the Target Field site, located in the historic warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis, it made them think differently about the potential for ballpark design. It would take a leap of faith by the design team and the Minnesota Twins to squeeze every element of a 40,000-seat ballpark onto an eight-acre site – a site smaller than 95 percent of existing pro ballparks. Facing a complex labyrinth of city elements that formed the physical limitations of the site – including viaducts, a freight train line, commuter rail lines, an interstate, two parking garages, a waste incinerator plant and an underground creek to name a few – Populous was dealt one of the most challenging projects in its history. The planning goal was to create a dynamic public space from the 3-dimensional chaos.

Target Field is the most urban ballpark in the major leagues. The stadium maximizes its setting by creating pedestrian bridges to connect the ballpark to the city. Its urban appeal is enhanced with the addition of new, immediate access to every possible form of public transportation and the acclaimed Target Plaza, the park’s ‘public garden,’ which beckons Minnesotans to the site year-round. The ballpark’s modern, urban appeal is enhanced with the addition of new, immediate access to light rail, commuter rail and bike trails all embedded into the core transportation systems of the city, helping to bridge the site to its urban surroundings.

Built adjacent to the I-35 corridor, McLane Stadium announces entry to the University and the City of Waco. The master plan and stadium park design reclaims 93 acres of historic industrial waterfront by re-engaging the Brazos River. The park will serve as an important pedestrian connection between the Central Business District of Waco, Baylor University and various museums along the river. Baylor’s 42,000 seat stadium brackets the terraced centerpiece: the sculpted, grassy amphitheater & water basin. The riverfront spaces overlook the Brazos and offers views across the river, back toward the main campus and of downtown Waco’s skyline. The park includes an expansive public gathering space, festival plaza and features a number of intimate garden spaces and terraces that draw people to the river. The Baylor Basin accommodates riverboat docking, and can host concert and festival series throughout the year. Groves of live Oak trees and lawn connect the area around the stadium to the more formal landscape of the University, while the landforms and loose fluvial plantings rising from the Brazos enclose more intimate spaces, opening to the river itself.