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Learning can be interpreted in different scales: from the city and its region to the personal workspace.
A city and a college will always share a special link. For hundreds of years, universities have been deeply bonded to the cities where they are based. Often, this relationship has been for economic reasons.
We see from history that universities and colleges’ contribution to local economic development is nothing new. Higher education institutions also play a big role in cities’ arts, culture, and society. Universities and colleges often set the social, cultural and intellectual tone of cities and towns, making them more international, lively places.
The necessary starting point becomes the human scale and the human body itself, with its six senses and its infinite potential for skills and dispositions that can be enhanced or defeated by the nature of space and place. Then comes the institution of academia and higher education with its buildings and campuses, their space and place.

1. Who needs the other more: cities or universities?
To start the discussion, a deep read on this subject from the British Council’s Dr. Jo Beall explains the relationship between cities and universities, why it is important, and how it is changing.

2. Seven ways universities benefit society
How do universities transform their neighborhoods, cities, regions, and nations? Read the main topics in this article from Jean-Paul Addie.

3. The impact of graduates on university towns and cities
Mike Hill, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Careers Services Unit and Prospects, speaks about the importance of university graduates choosing to live and work in the area where they studied. Their skills drive the local economy, with many graduates going into small businesses, and in some cases setting up their own. Working locally also means that graduates spend locally, which supports shops and businesses, and provides stability to the economy.

4. How students are helping to shape city centers
This article from Elli Thomas alerts for the fact that cities also need to think about how they can sustain and support the growth in city center living. Since unsurprisingly, it is large cities, home to a number of different universities and higher education institutions, which are attracting the highest number of student residents.

5. Can a university rescue a city when the local authority fails?
Dr. Georgiana Varna, a lecturer in planning and urbanism at Newcastle University, shares her vision in this article from The Guardian. She states that “there is no secret recipe for how to create a university campus in a city and make sure that it benefits everyone”. She says there can be downsides: the concentration of students in town centers, for instance, can raise housing costs and price out local people.

6. Universities and the City: from islands of knowledge to districts of innovation
For a more dense reading on this theme, take a look at the work developed by Katharina Borsi and Chris Schulte. Their paper argues that the contribution of typology to this urban transformation exceeds the representation of institutional missions and the generic descriptors of place.

7. Do cities need Universities to survive?
The so-called “town and gown” relationship between cities and universities has become increasingly important in recent years. Four university presidents detail what they can (and can’t) provide a city.

Where does this leave us? Universities are institutions that have origins a thousand years old – older than most countries and many cities, and far older than the joint-stock company. Yet today they are more relevant than ever to economic prosperity and the development of new ideas. They thrive in cities, and cities need them if they are in turn to succeed. It will be interesting to see how this long-term relationship develops in the future.
Share your vision of the future university and how it will impact our cities! Don’t forget to register and submit your project for the LEARNING competition.

See you all next week!