ʻĀina is the Hawai’ian word for “the resources, the people, and the knowledge systems deeply rooted in Hawai‘I”. This is the guiding principle behind the University of Hawai’i Mānoa’s Framework for the Future—a set of guidelines to create a sustainable physical campus plan to support the university’s strategies and priorities over the next 20 – 40 years.

The university is committed to growing its capacity to produce well-rounded, thoughtful citizens and provide skilled, dependable professionals for the regional workforce. Equally, it aspires to elevate its profile as a research institution focused on areas of particular relevance to Hawai’i— tropical agriculture, tropical medicine, ocean and marine sciences, astronomy, volcanology, sea level rise, alternative energy, and Asian and Pacific cultures.

MKThink has been working with the university since 2015 on quantitative evaluations and analyses of its campus facilities and has assumed the role of master planning partner in developing and executing on the school’s vision for the future.

The Framework for the Future initiative began with a discovery phase that gathered key data to inform planning and decision-making. The Baseline Utilization Study assessed facilities campus-wide and inventoried the information into a database developed in partnership with RoundhouseOne.

The database captures details on facility use by department, school, space type, and day of the week and provides the foundation for scenario modeling and testing, data-driven prioritization of capital improvement projects, and metrics to support policy development. The study revealed that optimizing classroom utilization and occupancy would yield 200% more space—a significant discovery given that land is a scarce resource on Oahu.

A survey of 551 faculty members representing 26 schools and colleges identified faculty workspace and facilities needs and changing instructional approaches that call for different types and inventories of learning spaces. The survey assessed where faculty logged their time—offices, classrooms, laboratories, libraries, home—and the nature of their work activities. And it asked faculty to anticipate how and where they imagine they would allocate their time ten years in the future. Insights from the survey established criteria for ideal workspace features, space typologies, department adjacencies, and technology needs. The criteria are designed to create environments that are resilient to changing academic demands and teaching styles.

To inform and prioritize the improvements to pedestrian pathways throughout the campus, MKThink installed sensors that detect wi-fi-enabled devices (as a proxy for people) to generate heat maps of campus movement and activity. Members of the campus community can offer their feedback on a map-based feedback forum.

MKThink is applying the information and insights drawn from the depth discovery phase to develop the Master Plan, which will drive long-range developments and capital improvements.