The student urban leisure sector: Towards commercial studentification?
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The case study of the student urban leisure sector in Lodz, Poland, presented in this paper encourages the reader to look at cities through the lens of the expansion of consumerism and higher education. While the mainstream of the literature dealing with students as an urban population covers accommodation issues, this paper focuses on the development of the leisure economy. To these ends, it looks at students as customers and workers of the leisure venues. The paper shows that in these venues, students are not just sizeable groups of customers but also employees. Therefore, the central areas of Lodz do not function solely as student playscapes but also as students’ places of work. Moreover, in contrast to the insights from prior studentification research, in which students were frequently reported as unwanted neighbours, in the eyes of leisure providers in Lodz, students are often kind customers and hard-working employees. Therefore, this paper argues for the nuanced treatment of students in research on cities by including a broader spectrum of roles students have as actors of urban change. The paper ends with a methodological standpoint that research into students in cities may benefit from applying the perspective of commercial studentification.
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