Designed Environment

Campus Design

More than half of the buildings constructed over the past decade have been four stories or greater; several are seven stories. Major public spaces, quads, courtyards, and pedestrian concourses that have been built include: MLK Plaza, Sessums Pedestrian Mall, Marshall Student Center Plaza, and the quads at Cooper Hall, College of Education, and College of Engineering. Other road, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements have been on-going.

Open Space Network

The Greenway has been incrementally developed through the phased implementation of the stormwater management plan, the implementation of related landscape improvements, development of built edges through decisive placement of future buildings along the edges of the Greenway, and completion of circulation routes linking one area of the Greenway to another. These efforts have resulted in linking habitat islands, reducing heat islands, improving students’ direct relationship with local flora and fauna, and providing increased opportunities for both active and passive recreation and improved pedestrian flow. In addition, parts of the Greenway (especially the forestry reserve, recreational forest, and Botanical Garden) actively sequester carbon dioxide and thus provide offsets for the campus’ carbon footprint.

Greenway Expansion

Greenway preservation of open space and retention ponds has been partially implemented.

Integrated Landscape

Over 2,000 trees have been planted on campus in the last 15 years. Nearly 180 donated trees have been planted along Leroy Collins Boulevard and other pedestrian paths on campus. The shaded western extension of Sessums Pedestrian Mall from the College of Engineering to the new 1,000-bed residence Hall at Magnolia was completed in the summer of 2009. A total of 13 large live oak trees were saved and relocated from the construction site (a former parking lot) for the new Visual and Performing Arts Building project.


Since 1995, over 2,000 trees have been planted. Trees on construction sites are barricaded at the drip line of the canopy to prevent parking and storage of materials underneath. These activities compact the soil and prevent adequate rainwater from reaching the roots. USF has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA University since 2011. View current and past Campus Tree Care Plans below:
2013-2014 Campus Tree Care Plan
2011-2013 Campus Tree Care Plan

Xeriscape Development

Since 1995, the use of drought-tolerant, native plants has increased. The new Patel Center for Global Solutions landscape design is the first project to fully commit to full xeric and natural plant materials.

Waterscape Improvement

Aggregated campus-wide stormwater system is being implemented. Cisterns are being constructed for storage and re-use of water before it goes into the stormwater system. There is currently a pilot stormwater reuse project at the USF Golf Course.


An aggregated stormwater retention system has been developed and rain sensor irrigation controls have been installed. The use of xeric plant materials has increased.


The Campus Master Plan emphasizes sustainable practices in land use, energy consumption, conservation, landscape, recycling, transportation, and so on. The construction of new buildings to greater heights has reduced land area consumption by building footprints. Impervious areas and the heat island effect have been reduced with conversion of surface parking lots to building sites and recreation fields by structuring parking.