Tag Archives: campus & city

Student city = knowledge city

by Alexandra den Heijer

In the beginning of November I visited Belgian student city Ghent with DUWO (student housing), to compare the Belgian and Dutch student housing market. Ghent has a huge and still growing student population – approaching 70.000 (population Ghent is about 250.000). The cities of Ghent and Leuven have Belgium’s largest student populations: essential for the regional and national knowledge economy. Student housing is a ‘critical chain’ in the transition from a student city to a knowledge city. When students live in a city, they are more likely to get attached to the city, both socially and economically.

Student city Ghent in Belgium - view from the famous university library building "boekentoren" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boekentoren

Student city Ghent in Belgium – view from the famous university library building “boekentoren

Both the Ghent University and the city of Gent have policies (and strategies) to accommodate national and international students within the city boundaries. We visited different projects. The photos below show two examples: a public-private partnership with the university as a client (campus Kantienberg) and a private initiative (“Ter Plaeten UpKot”).

private student housing project in Ghent by Upgrade Estate http://www.upgrade-estate.be/studentenhuis/omschrijvingen/terplaetenupkot.php

private student housing project in Ghent – “Ter Plaeten UpKot” – by Upgrade Estate

public-private student housing project Kantienberg, client: Ghent University - http://www.bamppp.com/projects/ppp-kantienberg

public-private student housing project Kantienberg, client: Ghent University

The crucial role of student housing in “student cities becoming knowledge cities” was also confirmed by speakers of the conference Class of 2020 (see website for report and more information). And – equally important – what happens after they graduate? Do they (have to) leave their student city (because there is no alumni housing strategy)? The city of Ghent is also struggling with that issue: where do our alumni go and what do we have to do to keep this talent for “Ghent knowledge city”? (more info about the potential of Ghent: website)

At another conference in November – Campus 2020 – my colleague and PhD student Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel presented her ‘univer-city research’, highlighting our observation and vision that the campus is no isolated area, but a network of functions – see figure below.

the campus as a network of functions - source: Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, 2012 (presented at conference "Campus 2020", November 22, 2012)

source: Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, 2012 (presented at conference “Campus 2020”, November 22, 2012)

Coming back on the title of this post: “student city = knowledge city”. This is true if a city succeeds in not only attracting students for higher education, but also in retaining the talent for economic growth. Student housing and ‘alumni housing’ appears to be a critical chain. For papers and articles on this subject, see PUBLICATIONS and RELATED RESEARCH.

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Managing the Spanish campus: “El campus del futuro es una ciudad”

by Alexandra den Heijer

Last week I joined the group of directors of estate (campus managers) of Dutch universities to Spain. Together we visited the campuses of 5 universities in and around Madrid and Toledo:

-1- University of Alcalá | Universidad de Alcalá (UAH)
-2- University UNED | Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
-3- Technical University of Madrid | Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)
-4- University Carlos III | Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)
-5- University of Castilla-La Mancha | La Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)

Some of lessons and photos can be found below. The title of this post “El campus del futuro es una ciudad” is one of the proposition of my PhD thesis (see PROPOSITIONS). This proposition also applies to (my vision on) Spanish campus development.

University of Castilla-La Mancha, San Pedro Martir building in Toledo

Last week University of Castilla-La Mancha also put a photo and notice of our visit on their website: Noticia UCLM.

P.S. This week I also received a link to a short film that summarized a conference in Barcelona about “Social Learning Spaces” – see post “Inspired in Spain”. The link to the film – on the website of University of Barcelona – can be found below.

Espacios sociales de aprendizaje | UBTV.

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Exploring univer-cities

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today I attended the conference “Gebiedsontwikkeling Slim Vlottrekken” [Urban area development: smart solutions – see http://www.gebiedsontwikkling.nu] in Utrecht to present one of the spin-offs of my campus research project: “Managing the univer-city”. We use this term for the merged model of the campus and/in/as the city [“and/in/as” depends on both the physical setting and how well urban authorities and universities collaborate].


For the spin-off project “Managing the univer-city” TU Delft hired PhD candidate Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, who also connected the knowledge city and the university campus in her Master thesis. More about her profile and background can be found under BOOK DESIGN (because Flavia was responsible for the graphic design of the book). For this project we collaborate with the academic groups of Urban Area Development, Corporate Real Estate Management, Urbanism and Urban Economics.

For publications and recent presentations about univer-cities, “campus & city” and knowledge cities scroll the (chronological) list under DOWNLOADS. A review in Dutch online can be found online: gebiedsontwikkeling.nu

session about “univer-city” Coolhaven, Rotterdam – Caroline Giezeman (r), Alexandra den Heijer (m), Roderick van Houwelingen (l) – photo: Jean van Lingen.

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Back from North America: “if you think higher education is expensive, try ignorance” (quote Derek Bok, edited)

by Alexandra den Heijer

My badge at SCUP-46 Having recovered from a jetlag (of 9 hours) I look back on a very inspiring visit to both the United States and Canada. My lecture (and presence) at the SCUP conference in the US introduced me to a new network of campus experts, and reunited me with some old North American friends. My publisher Eburon could tell that I visited North America by the increased number of overseas book orders.

the SCUP-46 venue at National Harbor, MD - accommodation more than 1,400 people who attended the conference

my book at the SCUP-46 conference bookstore (when there were still some copies left...) among 80 other books on higher education or related topics

What I learned is that higher education in North America and Europe is very vulnerable to more budget cuts: we are already struggling with large groups of students, less time and resources per student – resources that include the physical campus.

Reputations of higher education institutions and their alumni are at stake. Joining forces and sharing space with other stakeholders (other universities, private parties, public authorities) is one of the solutions which I presented at the conference and I elaborate upon in my book. This requires a culture change on campus.

Nonetheless, more political attention for higher education as one of the most important foundations for the economy is vital. This is the same reason why my book “Managing the university campus” starts with the quote (Derek Bok, former Harvard University president): “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”… I added that the same goes for the campus…

[for the Preface of “Managing the university campus”, see ABOUT THE BOOK ].

P.S. Our visit to Canada was not business but pleasure this time, even though we happened to visit the campus of University of British Columbia (UBC) and will definitely visit Simon Fraser University (and UniverCity, see “SFU” on Wikipedia.org) our next visit to Vancouver and West Canada.


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Back from Scotland

After a very inspiring visit to Scotland – University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Strathclyde University – it is confirmed (again) that Europe has so much to offer: a combination of campuses that breathe academic history in vibrant knowledge cities.

University of Glasgow campus - the value of academic history and heritage buildings

I also discovered that we (in the Netherlands) offer students beautiful housing: spacious rooms and apartments that could be used as a competitive advantage for the Dutch learning experience.

PS I uploaded some new publications (see DOWNLOADS).

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Sharing knowledge

At least two more events this week to share knowledge with other specialists (expert meeting on Monday, April 11) and with decision makers (Friday, April 15). Below some photos of the expert meeting with Spanish guest Pablo Campos. For presentations Pablo and Alexandra, see DOWNLOADS.

experts listening to lectures

lecture Pablo Campos

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Presentations to DOWNLOAD

The tour last week brought me to three meeting places in three knowledge cities: “de Machinist” in Rotterdam, “Techniek Ontmoetingspunt (TOP)” in the inner city of Delft and “kenniscampus” (knowledge campus) Leeuwarden. The presentations and links to relevant websites can be founds as PDFs on the page DOWNLOADS. I will spend the next week on some articles and papers!

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