Cultural landscapes are places that contain touchstones of our collective past, providing sense of place and identity in our physical environment. The cultural landscapes of college campuses are rich settings where historic environments are often intertwined with new developments that feature cutting edge technology and design. This juxtaposition of historic and new facilities can create dynamic landscapes where beloved historic buildings and spaces are enhanced by their relationships to new improvements. 
At a time when higher education is undergoing significant transformations, pressures for development of new facilities to accommodate state-of-the-art research initiatives and innovative teaching techniques can seriously threaten historic campus landscapes. Many campuses have tight constraints limiting horizontal growth. In efforts to maximize use of existing property, campus planners find themselves choosing between conserving historic open spaces and modifying or infilling with buildings or parking garages to meet needs. Regrettably, these decisions are often made with little or no evaluation of the true value of the historic landscapes. Understanding the significance of historic campus landscapes can enrich campus planning efforts and result in increased stewardship of heritage resources in these meaningful places.  
The University of Wisconsin-Madison took a proactive approach to conserving historic landscapes through a cultural landscape report for the campus. A holistic methodology was used to identify and evaluate significant landscapes. This was integrated into planning and design efforts aimed at conserving meaningful spaces such as Bascom and Linden Malls and Memorial Union Terrace. The CLR was funded by a Campus Heritage Grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust.