Will student cities buzz again?

Housing for students is a recurring problem in large and medium-sized student cities due to endless waiting times and high rental prices. But once you have found a room, it is nice to stay in a city that is buzzing with coziness and presence of like-minded people.

Successful student city

In a successful student city, the students are fully visible and the street scene and image are partly determined by the presence of the students. The more international, the more vibrant. After all, if you hear several languages ​​around you on the terrace and in the pub, it gives you a feeling of belonging.

Student stays longer at home

More regionally oriented study programs and universities see that students choose not to live in the city, but to travel back and forth. Therefore, the importance of good accessibility of the city and education is essential. The disappearance of the basic grant and the current shortage on the housing market ensure that more students decide to live at home. However, the visibility of the student and the image of the city is different. At the same time, maybe that is where the future lies for student cities.

Influence of COVID-19 and online education

Now that COVID-19 has caused a second wave of sick people in the Netherlands and students are (still) forced to follow education from a distance, the question is how this will have an effect on student cities in the long term. How many international students will come (back) to study and live here? And you can ask the same question for students from outside the region. A growing part of higher education will continue to take place hybrid and online. You can follow a large part of the education from anywhere on earth. The question that students may ask themselves in the future is whether it is valuable enough to rent such an expensive room in the city for those few contact moments.

Student city of the future

Therefore, the question is whether students will continue to meet each other in the future during introduction weeks and the many other events and parties they organise. What does it mean for the city, for the vibrant international and young refreshing atmosphere in the city, the small pubs, student accommodation, but also for real estate. Will the large education buildings be needed or will lecture halls remain half empty in the future Will student cities soon become more of a sanctuary for young entrepreneurs where start-ups will establish themselves after their studies? And will there be an increase in rental of studios instead of student rooms?

It is definitely interesting to already look at possible developments of student cities within the Netherlands. For our research project Leeuwarden Student City 2028 we sketch scenarios that outline a vision of Leeuwarden as student city of the future.

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