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Old 10-16-2015, 09:44 AM
 
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What is considered a college town, there are several definitions
1) when the town is a college: Sorrs, CT (UCONN), or Ithaca, NY (Cornell/Ithaca College)
2) A town with a dominating college culture, but functioning outside of that sphere Burlington VT (UVM), Ann Arbor MI (UM)
3) A town with a large amount of college students, but a large outside economy, Boston, MA (BU, Suffolk, NU, BC etc) Columbus (Ohio State), Madison, WI (UW)
Basically at what point does a town become a college town as opposed to a town with a college, for example no one would call Baltimore a College town, but it is a city with colleges.
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Old 10-16-2015, 10:26 AM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
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I've thought about this myself. Boston is too big and dynamic to be thought of as a college town, even though education and campus life has a tremendous influence on the area.

Albuquerque has the UNM campus and the nearby Nob Hill neighborhood is really the closest thing to what be considered a college town in the whole state. But it is not really thought of as a college town in the same sense that Tucson is, even though Albuquerque and Tucson are very similar cities. Perhaps Tucson has more of that eclectic hipster element that is commonly found in college towns like Burlington, Boulder, and Berkeley. For those three cities, college town immediately comes to mind.

I agree that for college towns the definition is broad and variable. They can be a refuge for free thinkers and subgroups, a haven for football fanatics or athletes, a center for medical treatment and research, or a destination for eclectic and more diverse amenities than would be typically found and towns and cities of a certain size or stature.

Last edited by Desert_SW_77; 10-16-2015 at 11:31 AM..
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Old 10-16-2015, 12:16 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
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I think a true college town is one that would not have arisen in the first place except for the college.
Example: Isla Vista, CA---UC Santa Barbara.
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Old 10-16-2015, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Planet Earth
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It's an interesting topic of discussion and one I've often thought about in my travels and experiences in different cities.

Cities like Columbus, Austin, Nashville, Boston, Raleigh/Durham, and Louisville are not IMO college towns. These are mid to large cities that either have multiple institutions of higher education and/or one major university. Sure you'll know you're in ____ territory when you are on campus, but distance yourself from campus and you'll likely meet many people who have no ties whatsoever to that university. You can easily find things to do here that don't involve the university.

Then there are mid to smaller cities like Tallahassee, Columbia, Knoxville, Baton Rouge, Lincoln, Madison, and Lexington where college culture is likely more dominant than the cities I mentioned above (Madison and Lincoln especially from what I have heard and read on these forums), but their respective university is not the end all/be all of the city, you can probably find things to do in these cities that don't involve "going to the football/basketball game". Lexington an Knoxville being the exceptions some of these cities are also state capitals so government jobs are going to be plenty. Some are going to disagree with me here but I don't think "college town" with this group although I do see the argument for why they would be.

Then you have cities like Tempe, College Park, Evanston, and Berkeley that are part of a large metro and are in some ways considered suburbs of these cities (Berkeley is an exception here I think). These towns do have the _____ territory feeling on campus but walk in another direction and you might feel like you are back in Phoenix or Chicago or DC. Technically, yes these are college towns, but in many ways they "blend in" with the metro they are a part of (again I think Berkeley might be an exception here). This one is a gray area I think.

Then there are cities like Chapel Hill, Ann Arbor, Norman, and Boulder. These are cities that are part of a major metro or close to one, but are distant enough that they have their own identity, culture, and vibe. You definitely know you are in _____ territory here even outside campus. You can find things to do that don't involve the university but at the end of the day the university is what "shapes" the town. These are definite college towns, no questions asked.

And then finally you have towns and cities that would likely be nothing more than a dot on a map w/o a university presence. College Station, Clemson, Auburn, Oxford, Starkville, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Stillwater, Bloomington, and Manhattan. Some of the cities I mentioned above probably fall into that category as well but considering these cities are kind of out on their own and they don't have a nearby city to have population spillover to rely on, they depend heavily on the university to provide growth. Like with the towns I just mentioned in the above sentence, you can probably find things to do that don't involve the university, but the university is a large part of the town. Again, these are definite college towns.

Last edited by Canes2006Champs; 10-16-2015 at 05:38 PM..
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Old 10-16-2015, 11:19 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^Lincoln is the capital city of Nebraska as well as home of the University of Nebraska. Outside of that, there's not much going on there.
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Old 10-23-2015, 08:57 AM
 
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See Gainesville, FL. Clemson, SC.
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Old 10-23-2015, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
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Charlottesville and Morgantown are the Ultimate College towns. Life centered around the universities

Poughkeepsie, NY with three very high profile colleges (Vassar, Marist and the CIA-which is actually in Hyde Park) is surprisingly not a college town. Planty of bars and events, but the overall culture is still IBM - even though IBMs glory days are long gone)
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Old 10-23-2015, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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College towns are everywhere. And every town is a college town to varying degrees. BUT, when I think of quintessential college towns, I think of:

Boston, MA
Amherst, MA
Mansfield, CT (aka Storrs)
New Haven, CT
Ithaca, NY
Rutland, VT
State College, PA
Princeton, NJ
Columbus, OH
Ann Arbor, MI
Traverse City, MI
Marquette, MI
Madison, WI
Lafayette, IN
Lexington, KY
Charlottesville, VA
Chapel Hill, NC
Hattiesburg, MS
Gainesville, FL
Tallahassee, FL
Austin, TX
Ames, IA
Fort Collins, CO
Tucson, AZ
Bend, OR

I could be missing many, many more. But these are the ones that come to my mind.

Currently, I live in a college town, technically (Columbus, OH), but it's a very dynamic city with much more going on than just college. There's a lot of corporations here and economic activity in general.
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Old 10-23-2015, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
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I live in one.

I say Tucson would fit the first definition. University of Arizona is the largest employer in Tucson and will probably stay that way for a long time unless we suddenly became more business friendly. Outside of the university, there isn't a lot going on economically. But the U is really prominent around here, even when you're not near it... And you should see how many non-college students come to the football and basketball games!

To me, I only associate college towns with the first definition and maybe the second definition depending. Tempe would fit in with the third definition as it is part of one of the largest metros in the nation, and even when I am at ASU, does not feel like a college town. And there are ASU stickers and apparel everywhere, believe me, but it just doesn't feel like the college dominates.
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by :-D View Post
I live in one.

I say Tucson would fit the first definition. University of Arizona is the largest employer in Tucson and will probably stay that way for a long time unless we suddenly became more business friendly. Outside of the university, there isn't a lot going on economically. But the U is really prominent around here, even when you're not near it... And you should see how many non-college students come to the football and basketball games!

To me, I only associate college towns with the first definition and maybe the second definition depending. Tempe would fit in with the third definition as it is part of one of the largest metros in the nation, and even when I am at ASU, does not feel like a college town. And there are ASU stickers and apparel everywhere, believe me, but it just doesn't feel like the college dominates.
I consider places like Tucson, Austin, Columbus, as "University cities" as opposed to "college towns". A place like Tempe would be a "suburban university city."

I think a true college "town" would need to be less than about 250K population.

However, Tucson truly was once a college town that outgrew itself. However, one thing I noticed living there is that there were a lot of people who were transplants from other places that were fans of say Big 10 teams that would still come out and support the Wildcats as sort of a surrogate team.

Probably the biggest supporter of Arizona athletics is Jim Click. But he is an Oklahoma State graduate and actually played for the Cowboys in the 1960s.
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