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Thread: College neighborhoods

  1. #26

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    Quote Originally posted by H
    agreeing, from personal experience...

    Those "nice" complexes cost about twice as much. give me the student ghetto anyday.

    In Knoxville in the Fort, I lived in a house that was split up into about 8 apts. I had a big one bedroom and paid $300. A friend of mine lived down the road (still in the Fort) in a new "nice" mutlifamily and paid $550 for her part of a 3 bedroom!

    Sure my downstairs neighbors had a chicken that tried to attact me evertime I walked by and sure the sink was leaky...but at least it was cheap! and walking distance to class!!! and walking distance to the store!!! and walking distance to chaep greasy rests.!!!! and walking distance to bars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and walking distance to most of my friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I could easily go for a week and never get in the car...basically I used it to go grocery shopping and out of town to see the pre-Mrs. H.
    Mine was nastier than this. Pure boarding house. No heat in the "common areas." Shared kitchen and Idiot room mates who put metal in the microwave! Weird wiring. A landlord who was a dentist who I think had the property as a hobby. Still-$125/MONTH!!! I had no money at the time, so....pretty cool

    I think this brings up a broader housing policy issue: As we "improve" standards-often based on middle class family concepts as Michelle mentions above-we price more and more people out of the housing market. An example: UC Berkeley has some aging, not very nice circa WWII married student housing in the town of Albany nearby. They are now redeveloping the entire property into a perfect example of New Urbanist/Seaside pastiche: better landscaping, nice, multicolored neotraditional buildings, "pedestrian walkways, the whole shebang. But, the rents will be twice or three times as high as those in the older, substandard housing. Where do the marginal married students go? Into an already overcrowded private market?

    There are other populations like this: can we build middle class/fully standard housing for farm workers and other itinerant employees? How? We can't-so what happens is just illegal doubling and trippling of households in aging homes.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
    Dec 2003
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Why are middle aged upper middle class people with FAMILIES the only worthwhile social group? Better to provide an interesting college neighborhood than house everyone in Soviet-style dorms. Heck, college ghettos can also provide cheap transitional housing, and the better ones can be more diverse than one would think.

    The only problem I can see is the lack of committment or investment of some students in a neighborhood they plan on leaving after they get their diploma or move on into something else. But then again there are people that do this (for different reasons), in neighborhoods that are not students.

    So where do you (or not) draw the line?

  3. #28
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Jul 2003
    SW-Coastal WA
    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    So where do you (or not) draw the line?
    I have no freakin' clue how to implement it but my thought is that we need a mechanism for financing the "floor" that we want to create in housing standards. Right now, we give tax cuts for mortgage interest rates which make it easier for middle class and upper class people to build McMansions and do nothing for folks buying affordable housing. I never got any benefit from such tax credits when we owned a house in Manhattan, KS when interest rates were low because I never paid enough in interest to qualify.

    We also subsidize the cost of building new suburbs on farm land because the city extends services -- such as police, fire, water -- out to these new suburbs. But, again, that is "welfare for the rich" while we continue to cut benefits to the poor.

    I do not know what kinds of policies, practices, models, etc it would take to achieve it seems clear to that part of the answer to raising the bar on housing standards without pricing people into homelessness (a rising number, unfortunately) is to subsidize the "floor" we have created rather than continuing to subsidize a higher ceiling for people who can already afford the floor.

    On the other hand, maybe that is not so OT.

    BKM, thanks re Starkville. That gives me a place to start an internet search for my own edification.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    This neighborhood...

    ...consumes about 2/3 of the code enforcement resources of the entire city...
    ...has the highest crime rate of any neighborhood in the city, has experienced actual riots and requires the city to maintain a police annex...
    ...has a declining percentage of the city's sales, even when retail square footage in the city has been declining....

    Like it or not, it is the student presence in the neighborhood (some, not all students) that has created this environment. Back on topic, there are other neighborhoods which have experienced and addressed similar conditions. I am looking for examples of these, not reasons why we should not care about these problems.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #30
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    Marquette University's "Avenues West" project has been very successful. I'll try to post a contact later.

  6. #31
    Apr 2004
    Providence, RI
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Well, I still disagree with you vis-a-vis the commercial districts, but your post clarifies your intent and represents an ideal I can even acknowledge. Still, college is expensive, and often those overcrowded boarding houses represent a housing resource that new multifamily cannot touch for affordability (speaking frompersonal experience).
    My sense is that while most of us can relate to the poor college student experience, not everyone can see what it might be like to live in a neighborhood near a university. Let me put in a word for the neighbors. As someone who grew up right near Brown University, I'd like to point out that the universities can be pretty powerful neighbors. When they make certain expansion plans, they can have an effect neighbors wouldn't have anticipated. They also tend to pull a lot of weight in the city. Brown, for one, doesn't pay taxes, and instead negotiates certain payments for services. Most importantly, with institutional zoning, Brown makes internal decisions about parking structures and expansions that bypass normal neighborhood review.

    We do get many of the benefits of being near Brown (for example, my mom has a position at the Medical School and gets to live very close to work; I found part-time work at the Brown Bookstore during holidays; there are lots of cheap restaurants and good bookstores). But as certain things change (more chain stores taking over older independent spots; a larger student body; big new facilities), neighbors don't have the same say they would have next to a non-institutional neighbor.

    In terms of student housing issues? I think we have less issues than most because so many Brown students live on campus. Most of the students on our street are grad students living in attic apartments above single-family homes. Only one house on our street is owned by an off-site landlord: it has eight students living in a duplex, and is poorly kept. A combination of 1) adequate campus housing and 2) strict no-overnight parking rules seems to keep the neighborhood dominated by single-family homes. I imagine, however, that the losers are Brown students, who likely find the cost of housing very steep.

  7. #32
    spokanite's avatar
    May 2004
    The other Inland Empire
    I am looking for examples of these, not reasons why we should not care about these problems.
    My university had a very similar taxing relationship with the town in which it was located: Cheney, Wa. population: 9800. The neighborhoods adjacent to the campus were single family and were usually upset at the behaviour/antics of the student population. The disgust peaked when a student from one of the frat houses chopped down the town Christmas tree and dragged it back to the house. In the past ten years it appears to have improved.

    A couple things that have helped: Partnerships. A developer pitched an offer to the university & city that he'd build a brand new mixed-use dorm in the aging/depressed downtown core if the university agreed to rent from him for the next 20 years. It was a win-win-win for all three parties. City gets more student presence in the core, tax dollars, and a nice new structure. The cash-strapped university gets a new dorm to ease pressure on resources due to enrollment, and the developer gets a 20 year lease. It's now the most sought dorm on campus to live. The Urban planning department at the university has also been active in the community doing studies and getting grants for improvements to the older neighborhoods. A Main Street program has been started and has helped make big improvements in the commercial district with the help of the students.

    Just some examples of a few things I know of that were done around here. Hope they provide a spark.
    Last edited by spokanite; 15 Oct 2004 at 2:27 AM.

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