So says the latest paper from the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies.
What nonsense. It’s already there.
The report uses the wrong method, and reaches the wrong conclusion.
Simply declaring Oxford and Cambridge as the model university cities without any reason makes no sense. They are extreme exceptions, 900-year- old towns virtually built around medieval communities of scholars. Even Princeton – possibly the most outstanding university town in the modern world – would score poorly using this approach.
And the report’s comparison with Oxford and Cambridge of the percentage of university students and employees in the Adelaide community is no more helpful: Adelaide has the highest proportion of university staff and students of any city in Australia.
There is a published rating for university cities: the QS Good Student City Ranking. It places Adelaide in the top 30 student cities in the world. QS uses factors in its ranking including affordability, quality of life, the student mix, and having at least two universities. On all these Adelaide ranks way ahead of Oxford and Cambridge. But QS gets no mention in the report.
More relevant would have been comparisons with the top university towns of the US–New Haven (home of Yale), Ithaca (Cornell), or Champagne-Urbana (University of Illinois), for instance.
And here Adelaide does well, its civic vibrancy and array of universities and cultural institutions, its proximity to beaches and wineries, its clean air and absence of traffic gridlock all superior to many of the rather isolated and insular university towns of the US.
Wherever I go abroad, universities tell me how attractive their staff and students find Adelaide. It is one reason we have not had the same drop in international student numbers other Australian cities have had.
I cannot see the value of trying to detract from Adelaide’s achievement.