As universities become a universally accepted and celebrated economic development power, there's still work to be done in getting the town and gown relationship on the same page.
James McCown provides a dispatch from a Think Tank discussion at SmithGroup in Boston, led by Susan S. Szenasy, director of design innovation at Metropolis.
The subject of the discussion was the evolution of the town and gown relationship in cities around the county and the world. Gone are the days of the "tacit agreement" between cities and universities "to get along while mainly remaining isolated from each other."
"Now, almost universally, colleges and universities are thought of as engines of economic growth for both their host cities and regions," writes McCown. "Both encourage a porous interdependence and academic/private partnerships. The nature and manifestation of this interaction can be controversial—despite the economic benefits, some don’t like free-enterprise real estate developers encroaching on what they see as sacred academic ground."
McCown provides a description of key points made by each of the panelists about how to make the town and gown relationship work for the prosperity of the entire community.
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