Student area a 'ghetto': report

A report on the future of the University of Otago's Dunedin campus considers the student housing around the university to have lent a "ghetto" feel to the neighbourhoods, says Vice-chancellor Prof Sir David Skegg.

Writing on today's ODT opinion page, Prof Skegg introduces the Campus Master Plan, to be unveiled this afternoon with the release of the 195-page "Options for Future Campus Development" report, compiled by international consultants.

"... the authors were shocked by the degradation of the residential areas surrounding the university," writes Prof Skegg.

"The squalid nature of many properties and the accumulation of rubbish are considered to have generated a 'ghetto' feel ..."

The report envisages what the student quarter might look like in 20 to 25 years' time.

Among other issues thrown up by the report, says Prof Skegg, are:

• Reconsidering the one-way traffic system in North Dunedin.

• A possible transformation of the Water of the Leith to "a natural feature with multiple recreational and ecological uses".

• The removal and replacement of several university buildings.

"They [the consultants] have encouraged us not to `make do' with run-of-the-mill facilities, but rather create a world-class campus which would enhance the experience of students and staff as well as the city of Dunedin."

The plan, put together by international consulting firm DEGW, is the first such major exercise conducted by the university since 1980.

Prof Skegg says he is "excited by their vision" but points out the report does not yet represent university policy.

He hopes it will be discussed within the university and by other interested bodies and the general public.

Details of the plan will be reported on at greater length in tomorrow's Otago Daily Times.

 

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