The Right to the City and to the University: Forging Solidarity Beyond the Town/Gown Divide
Over the last fifty years, institutions of higher education have served as anchor institutions in cities’ broader neoliberal efforts to generate new economic sectors, attract the creative class, and build amenities that stimulate market-oriented redevelopment. These activities, combined with universities’ own neoliberal restructuring, including diminishing housing support for students and staff, have contributed to gentrification and displacement in neighborhoods surrounding universities, creating the context for interrelated struggles for the right to the city and the right to the university. Using Temple University in Philadelphia, and University of California Santa Cruz as case studies we examine how students, faculty, and other university actors are joining with organizations and movements in surrounding communities to resist restructuring and displacement. In doing so, these emerging coalitions are transcending the more divisive town/gown narrative, forging new solidarities that are reimagining more just and equitable futures for both the city and the university.