A seemingly common refrain regarding our region's institutions of higher education has more to do with urban planning than education: Our colleges and universities are not connected enough to our communities. In this context, "connected" usually refers to physical location. But urban density studies, and various examples of our most innovative cities and businesses, tell us that a more connected environment — in which we're more likely to spontaneously encounter more people and more ideas — leads to a more connected population. In turn, that leads to more occasions to collaborate on successful business ventures, solve infrastructure problems more creatively, and so on.
We produce this year's edition of our annual College Issue with those types of connections in mind. Rather than create a publication aimed only at students in higher education, we hope that all readers of the Independent find value in the various articles, opinions and reviews throughout these pages.
Alone, it's not going to resolve the disconnectedness between our communities and universities. But reading and thinking together is a productive step.