Princeton Regional Planning Board Votes Unanimously on Institute for Advanced Study’s Faculty Housing Plans

The Institute for Advanced Study’s plans for Faculty housing received unanimous approval (10–0) from the Regional Planning Board of Princeton yesterday evening. The Institute’s successful application to build eight townhouse units and seven single-family homes on a seven-acre parcel of private land adjacent to its campus is essential to its future as a residential community of scholars. The plan, as approved, provides for a 200-foot buffer zone alongside the Princeton Battlefield State Park, with an additional 10 acres adjacent to the Park scheduled to be conserved permanently as open space. In casting its vote, the Board agreed with the Township planning and engineering staff that the Institute had met all requirements to proceed with its plans.

This illustration of the Institute's site plan for Faculty housing, approved at the March 1 Princeton Regional Planning Board meeting, indicates in red type the approved adjustments recommended by Professors McPherson and Hackett Fischer. (Click image to view larger size.)

Peter Goddard, Director of the Institute, stated, “We are immensely pleased to receive unanimous approval for our Faculty housing plans from the Regional Planning Board of Princeton. This plan not only enables us to maintain the essential residential character of our community of scholars, but it will also enhance the Princeton Battlefield Park, which the Institute helped to create and expand. We plan to work with others to promote the improvement of the interpretative materials in the Park so that visitors might gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the Battle of Princeton. We look forward to partnering with local, state and regional bodies to this end.”

The plan was approved with amendments that resulted from discussions between the Institute and leading historians James McPherson, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor Emeritus of American History at Princeton University, and David Hackett Fischer, University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. Professors McPherson and Hackett Fischer jointly recommended several adjustments to the Institute’s plan that meets the needs of the Institute while addressing the concerns of those, who, like the Institute, value the Princeton Battlefield Park. They include: moving a screen of trees from the western edge of the 200-foot buffer zone to the edge of the lots of the single-family homes on the eastern side of the zone; adjusting one of the property lines on the northwest portion of the site; removing the compost area on the undeveloped end of the southern field and regrading the land; and adding a path and interpretive signage at the northern end of the site. In line with the Institute’s commitment to preservation (its own archeological survey of the site was completed in 2007), it is committed to instituting an archeological protocol that will ensure the proper detection, documentation and deposit of any remaining artifacts before and during the building of the dwellings.

The Institute is proud to be a part of the Princeton community and to have contributed to Princeton’s distinguished history. Its tradition of support for the natural and historical environment is evident through the conservation in perpetuity of the Institute Woods and farmland (more than 78 percent of the Institute’s land holdings), as well as in its concern for needs of the community in developing its Faculty housing plan. Implementation of the Institute’s plan for Faculty housing is essential if it is to maintain its mission for future generations of scholars. More information about the Institute’s Faculty housing plans and the preservation and historical contexts is available on the Institute’s website, www.ias.edu.

For 82 years, the Institute has maintained its extraordinary preeminence in the world of science and learning, and has served as a model for hundreds of theoretical research institutions globally. The Institute exists to encourage and support fundamental research in the sciences and humanities—the original, often speculative, thinking that produces advances in knowledge that change the way we understand the world. Work at the Institute takes place in four Schools: Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Social Science. It provides for the mentoring of scholars by a permanent Faculty of no more than 28, and it offers all who work there the freedom to undertake research that will make significant contributions in any of the broad range of fields in the sciences and humanities studied at the Institute.

The Institute is a private, independent academic institution located in Princeton, New Jersey. Its more than 6,000 former Members hold positions of intellectual and scientific leadership throughout the academic world. Some 33 Nobel Laureates and 38 out of 52 Fields Medalists have been Institute Faculty, Members or Visitors. Many winners of the Wolf and MacArthur prizes have also been affiliated with the Institute.