University Cities | A NEW SPECIES OF CITY
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Discovering A New Type of City…

University Cities share a singular DNA that produces a constellation of magical effects: highly educated populations, innovative economies with high rates of entrepreneurship, outsized arts and culture sectors, and large nonprofit sectors that indicate a vibrant civil society. These traits mirror the large, coastal cities, but they happen in mid-sized cities with low unemployment, low-cost living, and extremely low violent crime rates.

These Six Cities…

If one were designing a city from scratch for success in the 21st Century – where educated talent is to the knowledge economy what rivers and ports were to the 20th Century manufacturing economy – then it might look like a University City.

The six cities that have major research universities in their urban cores, have metropolitan populations between 250,000 and one million, and have more than 10 percent of their populations consisting of students, are: Ann Arbor, Durham Chapel-Hill, Fort Collins, Lexington, Lincoln, and Madison.

LEXINGTON, KY

LEXINGTON, KY

ANN ARBOR, MI

ANN ARBOR, MI

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

DURHAM, NC

DURHAM, NC

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA

FORT COLLINS, CO

FORT COLLINS, CO

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

LINCOLN, NE

LINCOLN, NE

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA

Seemingly purpose-built for the 21st Century knowledge economy.

University Cities are a new species of city

These six cities have the advantages of the big coastal cities…

FULL OF EDUCATED TALENT…

70% GREATER THAN THE NATIONAL AVERAGE
PERCENT OF POPULATION WITH BACHELORS DEGREE OR ABOVE 2016
Source: 2016 Census Bureau

UNIVERSITY CITIES0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%
National Average0%

HIGHLY ENTREPREN-

EURIAL…

BUSINESS STARTS PER 100,000 2014
23% GREATER THAN THE SIMILARLY SIZED CITIES
Source: 2014 Census Bureau

UNIVERSITY CITIES - Business Starts per 100,0000%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%
National Average0%

ECONOMICALLY INNOVATIVE…

GDP GROWTH 2009-2016
17% GREATER THAN THE SIMILARLY SIZED CITIES

 

Source: 2016 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

UNIVERSITY CITIES - GDP Growth (%) 2009-20160%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%
National Average0%

AND HAVE OUTSIZED ARTS & CULTURE SECTORS… 

ARTS AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS PER 100,000 2016
44% GREATER THAN SIMILARLY SIZED CITIES
Source: 2016 Census Bureau

UNIVERSITY CITIES - Arts and Cultural Institutions per 100,0000%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%

And Yet…

University Cities ALSO Have…

LOW LIVING COSTS…

MIT LIVING WAGE INDEX 2016
8% LOWER THAN LARGE METROS
Source: 2018 MIT Living Wage

UNIVERSITY CITIES - MIT Living Wage0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%

LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATES…

AVERAGE UNEMPLOYMENT  RATE 2017
38% LOWER THAN LARGE METROS
Source: 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics 

UNIVERSITY CITIES - Unemployment Rate (%)0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%
National Average0%

AND VERY LOW VIOLENT CRIME RATES…

VIOLENT CRIMES PER 100000
43% LOWER THAN SIMILAR SIZED CITIES
Source: 2016 Federal Bureau of Investigation

UNIVERSITY CITIES - Violent Crimes per 100,0000%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%
NATIONAL AVERAGE0%

CONFERENCE

RECAP

What Is A University City?

Jim Gray, Mayor of Lexington. Conference welcome.

The Value of University Cities

Scott Shapiro, Lexington Chief Innovation Officer.

What do concentrations of human capital in University Cities produce?

Edward Glaeser, PhD, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and author of Triumph of the City.

What do concentrations of human capital in University Cities produce?

Ken Troske, PhD, Professor of Economics, University of Kentucky.

University Cities: The UK perspective.

Eli Capilouto, DMD, Sc.D, president, University of Kentucky.

Governing a University City + policy swap.

Jim Gray, Mayor of Lexington; Chris Beutler, Mayor of Lincoln, and Wade Troxell, Mayor of Fort Collins.

From college town to University City.

Omar Blaik, CEO, U3 Advisors.

Impact philanthropy and University Cities.

Benjamin Kennedy, Kresge Foundation; Katie Appel Duda, Bloomberg Philanthropies; and Lilly Weinberg, Knight Foundation.

Entrepreneurship and innovation in University Cities.

Warren J. Wilson, YARDSTK; Steve Dauphin, The Kirchner Group and Bonaventure Capital; and James Lima, James Lima Planning + Development.

Ann Arbor case study: equity in University Cities.

John Burkhardt, PhD, Professor of Education and Founding Director of the National Forum of Higher Education for the Public Good, University of Michigan; Howard Lazarus, City Administrator, City of Ann Arbor; and Jim Kosteva, Director of Community Relations, University of Michigan.

University-anchored innovation districts.

Scott Andes, Brookings Institution.

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While everywhere else suffered in the recession, this new urban species somehow kept unemployment, costs of living, and crime rates down. What we can learn from ‘University Cities.’

Post-industrial City. Metropolis. Border Town. Tourist Mecca. We like to classify our cities, giving them labels that signal what makes them tick, why they’re special.

Now, data suggest there’s another urban typology to add to the list: The University City. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “If you want to build a great city, create a great university and wait 200 years.”

NPR

Walk around Videon’s headquarters, and it’s easy to forget that you’re in a short, squat building in the back of an office park. Dogs run around the open workspace, filled with standing desks, funky stone tables and huge computer monitors. They’re an audiovisual technology company, so it make sense that they would want to show off their equipment.

This group, which he calls “university cities,” have distinct characteristics that make them different from smaller college towns or major cities with big research universities. And those characteristics translate into big economic development opportunities in the 21st century’s knowledge-based economy.

Knight Foundation

For professors, graduate students and undergraduates, the Knight Foundation has generously offered $10,000 in grants for those who wish to explore a topic related to the idea of University Cities. 

To apply, submit a 300-word description of your research idea to sshapiro@lexingtonky.gov by Dec. 1.

SEE MORE UNIVERSITY CITIES PRESS