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Constructions of Community in the Era of the Innovation District: The Case of West Philadelphia

One of the biggest trends in contemporary urban economic development is the campus-adjacent Innovation District, an endeavor in which higher education institutions are crucial partners. This talk draws on two emerging innovation districts in West Philadelphia's University City neighborhood to unpack innovation districts' economic and social logics and to compare today's university-investor partnerships with those of the Urban Renewal era. The talk also highlights alternative constructions of community advanced by organized residents of neighborhoods adjacent to innovation-themed development.

BIO

Laura Wolf-Powers is Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at City University of New York Hunter College, where she teaches economic development, real estate development, and community planning. Her book University City: History, Race, and Community in the Era of the Innovation District was published in 2022 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Her current research focuses on the political economy of land valuation and property taxation.

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