LBNL Second Campus

Leveraging LBNL's Second Campus for Regional Economic Development

Karen Chapple, Professor Of City and Regional Planning


Karen Chapple, Cecilia Estolano. Student Team: Laura Adler, Whitney Berry, Matt Chwierut, Jenny Gant, Michael Katz, Karla Kingsley, Noé Noyola, Ezra Pincus-Roth, Chris Schildt, and Michelle Thong.


Michael Caplan (City of Berkeley), Richard Mitchell (City of Richmond); Carla Din (East Bay Green Corridor)

Project Description

In early 2011, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (“LBNL” or the “Lab”) announced its intention to build a second campus, setting off a wave of excitement in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Lab, home to prominent scientists and researchers including 13 Nobel Prize Laureates in its 75-year history, had outgrown its facilities in the hills above the University of California, Berkeley, campus. After public meetings and careful evaluation, the Lab chose six site finalists. Each of the sites was located in the East Bay, within 25 minutes of the Lab. The Second Campus – as it has become known – is expected to open in 2016.

The development of the Second Campus comes at a pivotal moment in the world of science, especially in the areas of energy and natural resources. Concerns about the eventual depletion of the planet’s fossil fuels and the environmental impact of their consumption have heightened the search for alternative energy sources. As the oldest of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Labs, LBNL is at the forefront of energy innovation. Efforts to commercialize scientific discoveries from LBNL produced spinoff companies that have emerged as industry leaders. These firms, in turn, give rise to a network of supporting industries.

The report, conducted by master's degree candidates from the Department of City & Regional Planning for the cities of Berkeley and Richmond and the East Bay Green Corridor, was part of a sustainable economic development studio course led by Professors Karen Chapple and Cecilia Estolano at UC Berkeley. It offers an analysis of the economic impacts of the proposed innovation ecosystem. The material synthesized in the study is the culmination of an investigative process that included review of existing literature and reports, site visits, cluster case studies, economic and workforce models, and interviews with key stakeholders ad experts from LBNL, city government, the bioscience industry, real estate, and trade and advocacy groups.