University of Kansas Heritage Masterplan - Lawrence, KS

Between 2000 and 2009, the Getty Foundation funded roughly 75 campus heritage preservation studies, a handful of which involved landscape architects. The plan for the University of Kansas (KU) reflects one of the largest-scale cultural landscape preservation and sustainability plans ever attempted for a Midwestern University. Built on the summit of Mount Oread, a prominent hill overlooking the Wakarusa and Kaw River valleys in eastern Kansas, the 430-acre campus is at the heart of the rapidly-expanding community of Lawrence, Kansas.

The primary goal of the plan was to promote the stewardship of the University of Kansas’s historic campus by identifying, interpreting, and protecting the most important vestiges of sites, architecture, and landscape design. In the long term, these historic attributes, seen as evidence of time and change, can provide the University a distinct and valued asset in drawing and enlightening future members of the community.

Because of the challenging political environment surrounding the plan, the scale of the study area, and the extreme Kansas weather, JBC needed to develop innovative tools to document cultural landscape character so it could be protected. The overriding goal was to help the client understand the campus as more than a collection of buildings.

Using the landscape architectural tools of ecological and regional analysis, graphic overlays, and spatial analysis, Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company worked to create a defensible system for looking at the campus and its surroundings as a whole. The University of Kansas Campus Heritage Plan has made pioneering advances in integrating new sustainable water treatment practices, species diversity, and sustainability, while preserving historic character. Now complete, the plan is one of the first in the country to create politically-realistic management tools that value landscape architecture equally with architecture.



  • University of Kansas | Lawrence, KS 

  • Frank Edgerton Martin, Cultural Landscape Historian |

    Port Henry, NY

  • Treanor Architects | Lawrence, KS

  • Davis Preservation | Topeka, KS

Site Features 

  • Landscape preservation planning + landscape sustainability

  • High periods of landscape development

  • Deep analysis of landscape features + objects + elements

  • Identification of character defining features

  • National Register of Historic Places



“...the KU Campus Heritage Plan project is representative of the type of work from JBC that has consistently been outstanding.”

-Tom Waechter, University of Kansas


  • 2009 Kansas Preservation Alliance - Award of Excellence

  • 2009 American Society of Landscape Architects/ Prairie Gateway - Award of Excellence

*University of Kansas Heritage Masterplan images property of University of Kansas Relations Department