Universities and their Role in Urban Community Development

EURA Conference in Enschede, The Netherlands
10-11 April 2003

The mere presence of a university is of major importance for an urban economy. Universities directly and indirectly provide jobs and infuse purchasing power into the local economy. Moreover, the presence of a university also attracts new firms. But many universities in the USA and in Europe want to assume a more active role in furthering the socio-economic fate of the urban community. In the USA many universities have set up so-called community outreach programmes. These programmes are aimed at mobilising the university’s know-how to contribute to the prosperity of especially the more deprived segments of the urban community.

Such contributions can take various forms. Sometimes faculty members act as consultants for local governments or for community organisations. In other cases research activities are aimed at community problems or the faculty is providing instruction for members of the community. And in still other cases (graduate) students are doing internships in neighbourhood or community organisations or community-oriented research assignments (e.g. master’s thesis) as part of their academic training. Several European universities are engaged in similar forms of community service.

One of EURA’s prime objectives is to further the exchange between urban research and practitioners engaged in urban governance. Therefore EURA is organising a conference that is aimed at an assessment of various forms in which universities in urban areas have engaged themselves in the community.

Besides the plenary sessions discussion will take place in a number of specialized workshops. The discussions will be based on papers prepared by conference participants. The subjects of these workshops cover some of the major themes in urban development.

Paper proposals are invited. The proposed papers should focus on the contribution that university-city partnerships make to urban development (in one of the workshop domains). More specifically the papers should provide:

  • A description of the types of contributions (consultancy, research, instruction) institutions of higher education make for community development in a particular area
  • A description of the institutional arrangements for establishing links between institutions of higher education and urban communities
  • An analysis of the successes and failures of community service and outreach programmes and the factors responsible for these results.

Therefore, irrespective of their substantive area of interest all papers should deal with questions like:

  1. What are the contributions of higher education in partnerships with their urban communities in a particular field?
  2. How are such partnerships institutionalised?
  3. Which factors contribute to the successes of such initiatives or their failure?

Conference Themes

Workshop 1 Urban planning and renewal

Many university-city partnerships are directed towards the realization of social objectives in urban renewal, or the development of decision and planning procedures that take those social objectives and the participation of citizens into account.

Workshop 2 Education

This workshop is directed towards partnerships in the broad field of education. Two focus points are being defined:

  • The development of educational programmes

In most of the European countries educational programmes are being developed to improve the opportunities of target groups or areas (e.g. ethnic minorities; deprived neighbourhoods). Papers on university-city partnership to develop, to supervise and evaluate such educational programmes are relevant in this workshop.

  • The changing role of education centres

Education centres or schools, esp. those for primary or secondary education increasingly become broad service providing centres that play an important role in social development and social cohesion of neighbourhoods. This workshop is aimed at university-city partnerships in efforts (research, education and advice) in order to further develop or to evaluate the role that education centres may play.

Workshop 3 Youth and public security

Pro-active and preventive measures are being developed in most urban regions that aim at the reduction of inconveniences, vandalism caused by young people or juvenile crime and feelings of insecurity among the general public (e.g. caused by youth groups that hang around in residential areas). In this workshop we are interested in universitY-city partnerships in programmes or projects focussed on such themes.

Workshop 4 Minorities

Europe, and in particular its urban areas, is increasingly becoming a multicultural society. This workshop is focussed on university-city partnerships in programmes or projects aimed at integration, social participation or the creation of equal opportunities for minorities.

Workshop 5 Labour market participation

This workshop is focused on partnerships in programmes and projects that are aimed at the improvement of job opportunities or the improvement of the performance of local/regional labour markets.

Disclaimer: It may happen that for some of the workshops the number of paper proposals exceeds the available capacity. For this reason the organisation reserves the right to rearrange some of the workshops or to place papers in other workshops.

Organisers

This workshop will be hosted by the Institute for Decentralised Governance (INDEGO) and the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) both linked to the School of Business, Public Administration and Technology of the University of Twente (UT) and by KISS, a joint initiative of the UT and other institutions of higher education in the Dutch province of Overijssel, the provincial government of Overijssel, the five major urban municipalities in this province and private organisations (including business firms, and housing associations).

For more information and suggestions please contact:

Prof. dr. S.A.H. Denters, Professor of Urban Policy and Politics,
Scientific Director of INDEGO and KISS,
School of Business, Public Administration and Technology,
University of Twente, Postbus 217,
7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
Email: info@kiss-oost.nl.