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"Studentification" in Amherst, MA and Oxford, England

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Christina Pillarella

on 5 September 2014

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Transcript of "Studentification" in Amherst, MA and Oxford, England

"Studentification" in Amherst, MA and Oxford, England
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
‘Studentification engenders the distinct social, cultural, economic and physical transformations within university towns, which are associated with the seasonal,
in-migration of higher education students” (Smith, 2005, p.74).

Communities are starting to fear their next door neighbor: the local university.

Durham, England: "“it is estimated there are just 400 non-student households left in a community that was until recently home to 2,000 permanent residents.” In addition to displacement, the community itself is in turmoil. Mike Costello, a retired IT specialist, “who has lived in Crossgate since the 1980s, is now in one of only six non-student households in his street. ‘There are now two separate communities with totally different lifestyles. It feels overwhelming,’ he said” (Brown, 2014, web).
What is "Studentification"?
The case of U. of Georgia's Athens-Clark County student development of 2001
Displaced over 100 familes
Upscale apartment complex for the rapidly expanding University
U. of Gerogia's researcher G.Pickren finds this to be an important case study because he hypothesizes that studentification creates an environment that enables the young student population to become gentrifiers later in life.
Studentification Literature
A Review of the Literature
“Community activists blame the colleges for student housing problems. They say colleges prefer to use their available land and money to build additional academic and cultural facilities, and those college officials, in fact, view student housing as an economic burden to be foisted onto the community.” (Bowditch, 2001)
Umass Amherst
Oxford, England
By: Christina Pillarella
What is "Gentrification"?
The most recent definition was developed in 2008 that states gentrification is the “reinvestment of capital at the urban centre, which is designed to produce space for a more affluent class of people than currently occupies that space” (Lees, Slater, and Wyly 2008, p. 9).

The term "studentification" has recently branched off of the gentrification concept. While have different socioeconomic players, they are easily comparable to each other. While gentrification involves the displacement of low-income locals due to an influx of typically upper middle class Caucasians, studentification involves the deterioration of local communities and displacement of local residents due to an influx of higher education students.
Four Points of Studentification
Economical
Social
Cultural
Physical
Gentrification and studentification can appear to have benefits:

Increase in property values
Safe public spaces
A successful and expanding university
Town reputation
Tax revenue
Bring new businesses
Improved public transport

However, these can be negative effects and can have devastating effects on local residents
The "college lifestyle"
Local business move out and businesses that appeal to the college crowd move in
Family homes become homes to student tenants
Unkempt property
Student ghettos
Strains on town resources (fire/police department,etc.)
Increased property taxes
Poor Town/Gown relationship
Negative Effects
Rapid Expansion
Undefined boundaries
Poor Design (Townhouse Apartments, Brandywine Housing)
Blaming the University
The Retreat Project in 2013

"The Retreat"
The goal of the project was to “provide a solution to Amherst’s well documented problems with student housing rentals dispersed in residential neighborhoods. It was suggested that the “The Retreat” will draw renters away from these neighborhoods, lessening or solving that problematic issue. (Save Historic Cushman, web)”
It was destroyed by the Amherst planning board and Amherst residents. Why?
It was referred to as "terrifying" and compared to Hobart Lane and Townhouse apartments

Townhouse Apartments
Quad design
No sense of outdoor "private space"
Fosters social interactions
Sense of Community
All students, no families
Riots
Vandalism
Arrests
Increased police presence
Injuries
Underage drinking
Nearby college towns such as Durham, England and Loughborough University have been struggling with the studentification issue. It is a widespread problem across the United Kingdom which has only surfaced within the past decade.

While Durham had seen their culturally rich town replaced with a student ghetto, Loughborough has started to explicidly exclude college students from certain homes, known in the U.S. as "exclusionary housing" In order to decrease the amount of student living within the area, a new development, “Bellway Homes” will get the go-ahead to build 52 homes on the Storer Hall site near the campus as long as there is "prevention of the occupancy of the dwellings by persons enrolled on, or attending, courses of study at Loughborough University or Loughborough College" (Hill, 2005).
Oxford University
Source: neonplay.com
“the presence of a large, relatively affluent student population with a particular set of cultural and the capital (provided mostly by their parents) to fulfill those preferences combined with a private market eager to cater to student tastes, it has made…a process of student gaining the cultural capital that leads them to be gentrifiers later. It has become…a phenomenon conducive to the spatial displacement and continuing marginality of working class citizens [in Athens]” (Pickren, 2012, p.117).
Advertisement in Durham, UK
Source: independent.co.uk
Research Questions
1. What factors contribute to studentification in the United Kingdom?
2. Can the problem of studentification be solved through zoning?
3. How does the United Kingdom handle exclusionary zoning that concerns the student population?
4. What are Oxford’s Town and Gown strategies?
5. Is there a way to successfully integrate students into the local communities without destroying the community’s social fabric?
6. Is there a rift between local residents and students in the United Kingdom? If so, what steps have been taken to mitigate this?
7. What effects does the local government have on studentification in Oxford?
8. What effects to local real estate persons have on studentification in Oxford?

Methodology
1. Expert Interviews
2. In-person observation of Oxford, England
3. Documentary Research
4. Maps and Image Analysis
Oxford University
Source: dailymail.co.uk
Student Housing Advertisement, U.K.
Source: freshstudentliving.co.uk
Prevention
The Retreat aimed to eliminate "student ghettos" such as Phillips Street in Amherst, where large family homes have been repeatedly neglected by student tenants and negligent landlords for decades.
Source: Massrealty.com
Conclusion
I believe through my case study of Oxford, England, I can gain insight into studentification and bring home approaches and techniques that can be utilized within the field of regional planning.
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