UK Happenings

Gaines Center, LFUCG to Present University Cities Conference Oct. 13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2017) A new species of city is making itself known across the country through its steady success during uncertain economic times. University cities have outgrown their college-town status and created dynamic economies around the major research universities in the urban core.

To better understand this phenomenon, the University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) will bring national scholars as well as community and education leaders from these communities to Lexington for the first conference on this model on Oct. 13, at the Gatton College of Business and Economics building. 

Based on research by LFUCG Chief of Innovation Scott Shapiro, university cities are defined as:

  • metropolitan communities with a citizenship between 250,000 and 1 million;
  • home to a major research university in the center of the city; and
  • communities with more than 10 percent of their population classified as students.

The six U.S. cities that match this description are: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Durham, North Carolina; Fort Collins, Colorado; Lexington; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Madison, Wisconsin.

Like large cities, university cities have high rates of educational attainment, new business startups and economic growth. Like small towns, university cities also have low cost of living, low unemployment rates and low violent crime rates.

For more details on the University Cities Conference sessions and speakers, visit: Individuals interested in attending the one-day conference may register for the event online at:

The University Cities Conference is presented in conjunction with the Gaines Center’s Lafayette Seminar in Public Issues. Each year, the Lafayette Seminar provides an opportunity for Lexington community members, elected officials, and faculty and students to discuss issues facing the community. Previous topics have explored the local economy, town and gown relations, community gardening, public art and the creation of successful downtown spaces.

Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK's campus. The Gaines Center is designed to enrich the study of the humanities as an intellectual activity and as a means to self-betterment. The center offers courses and sponsors activities that appeal to faculty and students in all disciplinary fields.

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