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Lowell as a Learning City

Lowell is home to a world class university and community college, a thriving arts community and dozens of organizations that foster learning in all areas for all ages. Lowell City of Learning has two overarching goals: To amplify the voices of all of the learning organizations across Lowell and to become the first North American city designated by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a City of Learning.

A learning city promotes lifelong learning for all. 

UNESCO defines a learning city as a city that:

  • effectively mobilizes its resources in every sector to promote inclusive learning from basic to higher education;
  • revitalizes learning in families and communities;
  • facilitates learning for and in the workplace;
  • extends the use of modern learning technologies;
  • enhances quality and excellence in learning; and
  • fosters a culture of learning throughout life.

In doing so, the city enhances individual empowerment and social inclusion, economic development and cultural prosperity, and sustainable development.

Why learning cities?

Lifelong learning lays the foundation for sustainable social, economic and environmental development.The idea of learning throughout life is deeply rooted in all cultures. However, it is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s fast-changing world, where social, economic and political norms are constantly being redefined. Studies have shown that lifelong learners – citizens who acquire new knowledge, skills and attitudes in a wide range of contexts – are better equipped to adapt to changes in their environments. Lifelong learning and the learning society therefore have a vital role to play in empowering citizens and effecting a transition to sustainable societies.

While national governments are largely responsible for creating strategies for building learning societies, lasting change requires commitment at the local level. A learning society must be built province by province, city by city, and community by community.