Past Event details

Bricks, Bed & Higher Education: The Transformation of Student Accommodation in Britain

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The last thirty years have seen a remarkable transformation in student accommodation within the Higher Education sector. This has sharpened in the last decade with 'traditional' Halls of Residences being replaced by Accommodation Blocks and Student Villages, often built under Public-Private Partnerships. Accompanying these material changes are significant cultural and social shifts, notably in the relation of students to the local area, in the way HEIs conceive of 'residence' and in the way HE is experienced by students themselves. This is anchored in wider changes in the urban environment: studentification, gentrification, the broad development of medico-university complexes,  all accompanying further marketisation and internationalisation of HE.

These transformations are under-discussed and under-theorised within the field of Education, and yet all of it impacts on HE and the student experience. This SRHE SEN one-day event brings together architects, human geographers and HE academics to discuss what has happened, its wider implications, and its possible futures. 

Discussant: Owen Hatherley writer and journalist based in London who writes primarily on architecture, politics and culture and author of  ‘Militant Modernism’, 'A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain' and 'A New Kind of Bleak'.

Speakers and Themes:

'Somewhere to live':  vocabularies and communities

Harold Silver, Visiting Professor, Open University
A reflection on the distinction between 'residence' and 'accommodation' in Higher Education with reference to recent literature concerning institutions as communities. 
Student Accommodation: the impact of design on the experience of university
Liz Pride and Reza Schuster,  MJP Architects 
A review of different approaches to the design of student accommodation and their implications for student society and the experience of being at university. Each university’s stance on issues such as pastoral care, budget and choice affects the design and character of their student accommodation, while commercial providers have a different agenda with different consequences for design.  An institutional style of accommodation can promote a sense of belonging, while more self-contained arrangements encourage responsibility and independence. An increasingly diverse and demanding body of students deserves a place to live which will enhance their time spent at university – socially and intellectually.
Student accommodation: an important part of the “student experience”
Paul Harris, Group Strategy & Corporate Relations Director, UNITE
With recent changes to the Higher Education landscape student accommodation is increasingly being regarded as a crucial element of the student experience. Universities are approaching this challenge in various ways with a wider trend for more innovative estates strategies and, in many cases, a greater integration between academic and non-academic aspects of student life. Drawing on UNITE's research, Paul reflects on current expectations of the student accommodation experience and its place within the wider student experience.

Changing student geographies in the UK
Darren Smith, Reader in Geography, Loughborough University 

The student housing market is volatile and is currently being restructured in profound ways in light of changing social, political and economic conditions.  This paper will consider how the residential geographies of students are being recast and how this is impacting on student lifestyles and experiences.  It is argued that students are increasingly being segregated from other social groups in university towns and cities, as studenthood is commodified and regulated.

New Rooms for Old? or Creating Finance to Build the University Experience
Nicholas Beyts, Visiting Fellow, Cass Business School, City University, London

Can a university use a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to acquire then use of residential accommodation, which offers it the prospect of a sustainable advantage in teaching or research?  

Network: Student Experience
Date(s): Thursday, 18 October 2012
Times: 11.00 - 4.00
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier Street, London N1 9BE
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Darren Smith powerpoint
Unite powerpoint
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