At a Glance

Sustainability planning allows a major university to responsibly develop land while enhancing ecology and thoughtfully integrating the natural and built environments.

Project Description

Biohabitats participated in a multi-disciplinary planning effort for the proposed 250-acre Carolina North campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The planning focused on site infrastructure and sustainable design. Over the course of several months, the University and its consultant team developed principles, strategies, metrics, and goals for the infrastructure, natural landscape, and built environment of Carolina North. While some of the goals may be achieved early in the project, others reflect desired conditions for a 30-year horizon. The sustainability vision was then used by the University and the design team, along with many other inputs and background studies, to layout and test various development scenarios and to develop Site Development Guidelines.

Representative themes and principles that were developed include:

  • Accounted for existing and potential natural capital of the site to inform the planning process and associated conservation/development strategies.
  • Sustained and restored the structure, function, and beauty of an indigenous North Carolina Piedmont Forest in areas identified for conservation, and mimicked it for areas identified for development.
  • Designed Carolina North as a walkable/bikeable campus.
  • Designed, constructed, maintained, and operated Carolina North to be carbon neutral.
  • Treated waste as a resource.
  • Increased human potential.
  • Encouraged collaboration.
  • Integrated research, education, and outreach in both built and non-built conditions.


Southeast Atlantic

Physiographic Province



Haw River

Expertise Areas

Community, Conservation, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology, Water


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

Project Team
  • Ayers Saint Gross