Africa’s universities overlooked as urban innovators
City leaders in Africa need an education on the outsized role universities can play in shaping urban environments. Samantha Spooner writes for the World Economic Forum that a few cities on the continent have formed partnerships with academia — but most never bother.
Universities and colleges are desirable partners for developing cities, Spooner writes. They usually own prime real estate in central areas and can tap financial endowments. The issue of cities teaming with educational institutions was debated late last month at the Africa Universities Summit in Johannesburg.
A few cities have taken advantage of local universities, the article says. The University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa partnered with Johannesburg to add affordable student and staff housing to a downtown district. The American University in Cairo relocated most of its campus in 2008 from crowded Tahrir Square to a satellite city 45 minutes away. That freed up more space in central Cairo for other development.