One of the perks of living and working in University City is being able to leech off of the many resources of the University of Pennsylvania. The campus itself is an amenity my children and I enjoy many times a month. The Penn community supports a depth and breadth of retail options we otherwise would not have access to. The university is responsible in part for the elementary school we'll send our kids to, and even gave us $15,000 when we bought our house, as part of a mortgage incentive program in the late 1990's designed to encourage Penn-affiliated people to live near campus. (My wife worked for the hospital at the time.)
Of course, Penn's greatest resource is intellectual. And in the past two days, I have capitalized, attending three separate events that happened to intersect with my work portfolio as well as my personal interests. There was a fireside chat about the future of cities, of which one of my bosses was a panelist. There was a symposium on public health, which included a session on urban food networks, a topic I'm exploring in a current assignment. And then I went with one of my bosses to a talk by Economy.com's Mark Zandi on the importance of universities in long-term national economic growth.
In all three cases, getting in and out was a cinch, I didn't have to pay a dime, and I even got some free food to boot at the last event. If you know me, you know that intellectual stimulation, convenience, and free are three very important things to me. In that regard, have I told you lately how much University City suits me? Thanks to Penn and to the many community members who pulled off these three and other such events; you'll see me stopping by again and again to partake.