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University of Pennsylvania Press - University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
The University and Urban Revival: Out of the Ivory Tower and Into the Streets

The University and Urban Revival: Out of the Ivory Tower and Into the Streets

by Judith Rodin
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In the last quarter of the twentieth century, urban colleges and universities found themselves enveloped by the poverty, crime, and physical decline that afflicted American cities. Some institutions turned inward, trying to insulate themselves rather than address the problems in their own backyards. Others attempted to develop better community relations, though changes were hard to sustain.

Spurred by an unprecedented crime wave in 1996, University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin knew that the time for urgent action had arrived, and she set a new course of proactive community engagement for her university. Her dedication to the revitalization of West Philadelphia was guided by her role not only as president but also as a woman and a mother with a deep affection for her hometown.

The goal was to build capacity back into a severely distressed inner-city neighborhood—educational capacity, retail capacity, quality-of-life capacity, and especially economic capacity—guided by the belief that "town and gown" could unite as one richly diverse community.

Cities rely on their academic institutions as stable places of employment, cultural centers, civic partners, and concentrated populations of consumers for local business and services. And a competitive university demands a vibrant neighborhood to meet the needs of its faculty, staff, and students. In keeping with their mission, urban universities are uniquely positioned to lead their communities in revitalization efforts, yet this effort requires resolute persistence.

During Rodin's administration (1994-2004), the Chronicle of Higher Education referred to Penn's progress as a "national model of constructive town-gown interaction and partnership." This book narrates the challenges, frustrations, and successes of Penn's campaign, and its prospects for long-term change.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812240221
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press - University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date: 08/21/2007
Series: The City in the Twenty-First Century
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 531,793
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Judith Rodin became President of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2005. She is President Emerita of the University of Pennsylvania and previously served as provost of Yale University. She has coauthored many books and was the coeditor (with Stephen P. Steinberg) of Public Discourse in America: Conversation and Community in the Twenty-First Century, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Table of Contents

Prologue     vii
Mobilizing for Action     3
Why Neighborhood Revitalization     13
The Growth of University City     23
Policy, Organization, and Planning     45
Making the Neighborhood Clean and Safe     59
Reclaiming Housing     81
Invigorating the Local Economy     107
Investing in Public Education     139
Civic Leadership     187
Conclusion     179
Projects Developed Under West Philadelphia Initiatives     189
Notes     189
Index     205
Acknowledgments     219

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