Optimising Tertiary Student Accommodation within University Neighbourhoods

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Ike, Nnenna ; Baldwin, Claudia ; Lathouras, Athena (2017)
  • Publisher: Journal of Urban Research
  • Subject: tertiary students | accommodation | housing | university | studentification

Tertiary students’ activities within neighbourhoods adjacent to universities engender positive and negative impacts that have consequences for neighbourhood sustainability. This might lead to studentification, a process that triggers physical, economic and socio-cultural transformation of university towns. Where non-student residents perceive negative impacts, it can lead to conflict and resentment towards the student population, mistrust between student and local resident groups and a decrease in social capital. This paper uses a case study of two neighbourhoods adjacent to a university in Australia to explore ways to integrate students within university neighbourhoods to ensure those communities remain cohesive and sustainable. Focus groups of local residents were held to elicit data and answer the research questions. We refer to social capital and community development theories of social contact and dialogue, to identify how already studentified neighbourhoods or neighbourhoods, which have not dealt with an influx of ‘others’, might apply these theories to become more sustainable. Our unique contribution suggests the use of urban planning policy approaches, including careful dispersion of purpose-built-student-accommodation (PBSA) and registration/licencing of operators of shared housing/ house(s)-in-multiple-occupation (HMOs), to optimally integrate students within university neighbourhoods and mitigate the deleterious effects of studentification.
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