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Wanna break down the town-gown divide? Go to this Next City event

Next City's upcoming "City Sessions" panel will start a conversation about how the region's universities can strengthen ties with their local communities.

How do we strengthen the ties between a city’s anchor institutions and the urban fabric on which they sit? After all, universities need healthy cities to thrive and survive. And vice versa.

An answer: public-private partnerships. Needless to say, those relationships can get a bit … complex.

Nonprofit media organization Next City, in partnership with 900AM-WURD and AL DÍA News (and the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation), will ignite a dialogue about these issues at the next meeting of its City Sessions series.

The free event, titled “The University as Community,” will take place Nov. 19 at the Moore College of Art & Design at 6:00 p.m.

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“We’re seeing an increased international trend of populations shifting to cities and an increased interest in cities,” said Moira Baylson, Next City’s COO. “There’s an increased need for assessment.”

The Philadelphia region is home to over 100 research institutions. The conversation about how we can maximize the power of universities, Baylson said, will be crucial to Philadelphia’s future success and competitiveness.

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In light of the 2015 mayoral election, Baylson says these public-private relationships will need to be addressed by our next mayor.

This session will not be a showcase of Philly’s prosperous public-private partnerships. Rather, it will be a conversation about how we can enhance these relationships by digging into their complicated nature, how they work, what the challenges are and how we can overcome them.

Next City has assembled a panel of professionals who will be speaking on these issues and sharing their perspectives. The panel, moderated by U3 Advisors cofounder and co-CEO Omar Blaik, includes:

Expect an overview from Blaik, a moderated panel discussion and plenty of questions during an audience Q&A.

“We’re looking under the hood of how complex these relationships can be and getting some ideas about how we can do better,” Baylson says. “There’s always room.”

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