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

It turns out that 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.

POPULATION

Between 250 Thousand and 1 Million

RESEARCH

Major Research University In The Center of City

STUDENTS

More Than 10% of Population Are Students

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…
 0.132% GREATER THAN THE NATIONAL AVERAGE
PERCENT OF POPULATION WITH BACHELORS DEGREE OR ABOVE 2016

UNIVERSITY CITIES0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%

UNIVERSITY CITIES0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%
HIGHLY ENTREPRENEURIAL…
BUSINESS STARTS PER 100,000 2014
22.808% GREATER THAN THE SIMILARLY SIZED CITIES
ECONOMICALLY INNOVATIVE…
GDP GROWTH 2009-2016
16.938% GREATER THAN THE SIMILARLY SIZED CITIES

UNIVERSITY CITIES0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%

UNIVERSITY CITIES0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%
AND HAVE OUTSIZED ARTS & CULTURE SECTORS… 
ARTS AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS PER 100,000 2016
35.7%GREATER THAN SIMILARLY SIZED CITIES

And Yet…

University Cities ALSO Have…

LOW LIVING COSTS…
MIT LIVING WAGE INDEX 2016
P8.246% LOWER THAN LARGE METROS

UNIVERSITY CITIES0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%

UNIVERSITY CITIES0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%
LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATES…
AVERAGE UNEMPLOYMENT  RATE 2017
29.969% LOWER THAN LARGE METROS
AND VERY LOW VIOLENT CRIME RATES…
VIOLENT CRIMES PER 100000
% LOWER THAN LARGE METROS

UNIVERSITY CITIES0%

Cities of the same size0%
Large Metros0%

University Cities are also

Entrepreneurial…
Business starts per 100,000
226
UCs are 12% above the national average
Have low violent crime…
Violent crimes per 100k
263
UCs are 28% below the national average
Have a low cost of living.
Fair market rent for a 2 bedroom apartment
803
UCs are 15% below the national average.

CONFERENCE

RECAP

Jim Gray, Mayor of Lexington. Conference welcome.

What is a University City?

Scott Shapiro, Lexington Chief Innovation Officer.

The Value of University Cities.

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.

What do concentrations of human capital in University Cities produce?

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

University Cities: The UK perspective.

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

Governing a University City + policy swap.

Omar Blaik, CEO, U3 Advisors.

From college town to University City.

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

Impact philanthropy and University Cities.

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

Entrepreneurship and innovation 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.

Ann Arbor case study: equity in University Cities.

Scott Andes, Brookings Institution.

University-anchored innovation districts.

OUR

SPONSORS

QUOTES

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