The University and the City

By Jason Leach
Published May 11, 2006

A recent article in Maisonneuve magazine highlights the fabulous connection that can be made between a university and urban city. Of course the city is Montreal and the university is Concordia, but the principles have been repeated now in several cities all over the globe.

I've advocated in the past for McMaster to pursue a similar campus in downtown Hamilton, but they aren't interested.

A more likely option would be for Hamilton to pursue a University of Toronto campus in the downtown. It would be a huge draw and considering the number of students from our area that trek to U of T, and the others who choose not to go there due to the commute, it would make sense to open a Hamilton campus.

In the meantime, visit Toronto or Montreal to experience the vibrancy of true urban universities that are proud to be a vital part of their downtowns, not hiding in a self-contained business park.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2006 at 10:04:11

This was also a recommendation made by that bloke who conducted the study on 'Successful Mid-size North American Cities'. I forget his name (was it Professor Fillion? - something like that). I went to see his presentation at the Hamilton library last year. Basically he contended that many of the successful mid sized North American cities he studied had universities with downtown campuses. Students by their nature bring walking traffic, money and vitality to a neighbourhood. Pretty simple theory really. Demand for secondary education continues to be high - what are we waiting for?


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By jason (registered) | Posted May 11, 2006 at 11:40:09

The downtown BIA recently sent a letter to council expressing their concern over the new 5-storey residential building to be built at King and John (site of yesterdays embarrasing demo job by the mayor and council) being geared to university students. Huh?? The downtown BIA needs to give their head a shake. I'd like to see thousands of university students living downtown, but then, I'd also like to see a fully vibrant and stunning downtown. Apparently not everyone shares this sentiment.

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By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted May 15, 2006 at 21:56:35

Hey, does anyone have a copy of this letter? I am a McMaster student and I am definitely interested in following this up.

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By Joe (registered) | Posted May 22, 2006 at 23:50:43

Some of you may remember that McMaster University partnered up with the City of Burlington to establish a McMaster campus in their city in the coming years. I was really surprised when I found this out. I'd like to know why other options were not considered, especially the option of placing a campus in downtown Hamilton.

I am even more baffled to hear the downtown BIA has concerns with student housing in the downtown area. As was mentioned by others, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that student residents are exactly what the downtown needs.

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By fowgre (registered) | Posted May 27, 2006 at 22:53:10

London's Galleria Mall reflected the deterioration of the downtown in which it's located. Lots of vacant space. So they made the wise decision to somehow entice the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College to set up satellite campuses, and that seems to be helping it to turn the corner. Along with a couple of telemarketing firms and our new central library, it's looking healthier than it has in many, many years.

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