Live and learn: The time of the PBSA sector has come
- July 1, 2023: Vol. 15, Number 7

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Live and learn: The time of the PBSA sector has come

by James Dunn

Ever since 366 B.C.E., when an 18-year-old Aristotle was sent to Athens from his home in northeastern Greece to study at Plato’s Academy — then the pre-eminent place of learning in the Greek world — students have faced the perennial problem of where to live while they study away from home.

For those students whose university education takes place somewhere other than their hometown, several models of student accommodation have developed: the crenellated, ivy-covered Gothic (actual or faux) cloisters, spires and courtyards of the residential college, based on the monasteries and convents of Europe; the fraternities and dormitories of the North American system; university-owned independent housing; the cheap fleapit private rentals of the suburbs close to universities. These have provided rites of passage for students for hundreds of years.

In the past decade, however, a new model has emerged: that of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), a new kind of tenant

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